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Orders Of The Day

Volume 65: debated on Thursday 30 July 1914

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Government Of Ireland (Amendment) Bill

The PRIME MINISTER had given notice of the following Motion, "That the Proceedings on the Government of Ireland (Amendment) Bill have precedence this day of the Business of Supply."

The Prime Minister is going to make a statement on this Motion. I think I ought to say that the Standing Orders do not provide for any Amendment or Debate. As this, however, is a very exceptional occasion, I have no doubt the House will be anxious to hear what the Prime Minister has to say, and will waive the Standing Orders.

I do not propose to make the Motion which stands in my name. By the indulgence of the House I should like to give the reason. We meet to-day under conditions of gravity which are almost unparalleled in the experience of every one of us. The issues of peace and war are hanging in the balance, and with them the risk of a catastrophe of which it is impossible to measure either the dimensions or the effects. In these circumstances it is of vital importance in the interests of the whole world that this country, which has no interests of its own directly at stake, should present a united front, and be able to speak and act with the authority of an undivided nation. If we were to proceed to-day with the first Order on the Paper, we should inevitably, unless the Debate was conducted in an artificial tone, be involved in acute controversy in regard to domestic differences whose importance to ourselves no one in any quarter of the House is disposed to disparage or to belittle. I need not say more than that such a use of our time at such a moment might have injurious, and lastingly injurious, effects on the international situation. I have had the advantage of consultation with the Leader of the Opposition, who, I know, shares to the full the view which I have expressed. We therefore propose to put off for the present the consideration of the Second Reading of the Amending Bill—of course without prejudice to its future—in the hope that by a postponement of the discussion the patriotism of all parties will contribute what lies in our power, if not to avert, at least to circumscribe, the calamities which threaten the world. In the meantime, the business which we shall take will be confined to necessary matters and will not be of a controversial character.

The situation is a little complicated by reason of the fact that if this Motion is not put, this will become an allotted day. Supply stands first if the Motion is not taken. Therefore, I think it will be better to take it.

I beg to move, "That the Proceedings on the Government of Ireland (Amendment) Bill have precedence this day of the Business of Supply."

As the Prime Minister has informed the House, it is with our concurrence that he has made the suggestion which we have just heard. At a moment like the present, when even those of us who do not share diplomatic secrets feel that the statement of the Prime Minister is true, that peace or war may be trembling in the balance, I think it is of the utmost importance that it should be made plain to everyone that, whatever our domestic differences may be, they do not prevent us presenting a united front in the counsels of the world. I am obliged to the Prime Minister for saying that in the meantime party controversial business will not be taken. I am sure it is his intention, as it would be the wish of the whole House, that this postponement will not in any way prejudice the interests of any of the parties to the controversy. I should like to add—and I do so not to give information to the House, the Members of which quite understand the position, but in order that it may be plain outside—that in what I have now said I speak not only, in so far as I am entitled to speak, for the Unionist party, but for Ulster, and in what I have just said I have the concurrence of my right hon. Friend the Member for Trinity College.

Question put, and agreed to.

Supply—27Th July

Resolutions reported.

Navy Estimates, 1914–15

1. "That a sum, not exceeding £483,500, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expenses of the Admiralty Office, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1915."

2. "That a sum, not exceeding £1,003,700, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expense of Half Pay and Retired Pay to Officers of the Navy and Marines, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1915."

3. "That a sum, not exceeding £1,605,900, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expenses of Naval and Marine Pensions, Gratuities, and Compassionate Allowances, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1915."

4. "That a sum, not exceedng £399,400, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Expense of Civil Superannuation, Compensation Allowances, and Gratuities, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1915."

Resolutions agreed to.

Milk And Dairies Bill

As amended (in the Standing Committee), further considered.

Clause 4—(Obligation To Inspect Dairies In Certain Cases)

(1) If the medical officer of health of any local authority has reason to suspect that tuberculosis is caused, or is likely to be caused, by the consumption of any milk which is being sold or exposed or kept for sale within the area of the local authority he shall endeavour to ascertain the source or sources of supply, and on ascertaining the facts shall forthwith give notice of them to the medical officer of health of the county or county borough in which the cows from which the milk is obtained are kept, whether the dairy where they are kept is within or without the area of the local authority, unless the local authority are themselves the council of that county or county borough.

(2) On the receipt of such notice it shall be the duty of the medical officer of health of the county or county borough to cause the cattle in the dairy, and, where the case so requires, the persons employed therein, to be inspected, and to make such other investigations as may be necessary.

(3) Sufficient notice of the time of the inspection shall be given to the local authority whose medical officer of health gave the notice, and to the dairyman to allow that officer or a veterinary inspector or other veterinary surgeon appointed by the authority, and, if desired, another veterinary surgeon appointed by the dairyman being present at the inspection if either party so desire.

(4) The council of the county or county borough on whose medical officer of health the notice is served shall send to the medical officer of health of the local authority who gave the notice copies of any reports which may have been made by the medical officer of health making the inspection, and of any veterinary or bacteriological or other reports which may have been furnished to him, and shall give him information as to whether any action has been taken upon those reports and as to the nature of that action.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "has reason to suspect" ["if the medical officer of health of any local authority has reason to suspect"].

4.0 P.M.

I am as anxious as anybody to protect the country from infectious milk, but I cannot help thinking that the words which, by my Amendment, I propose to leave out may lead to unnecessary hardship if they are retained. Of course, there are a good many men whose opinions are of the highest importance, and could not be challenged, but we know by sad experience that there are a good many medical officers who are moved by other motives than purely humane or scientific motives. If the President of the Local Government Board cannot accept my Amendment because he thinks it too drastic, perhaps he would suggest some more moderate words, or, at any rate, something which will not give the medical officers of health such immense powers as this Bill gives and will protect to some extent the producers.

Amendment not seconded.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the words "and, where the case so requires, the persons employed therein."

This Amendment is a repetition of the Amendment which was adopted on Clause 11 the other night and has for its object to enable the medical officer of health whenever he is so minded to make a medical inspection of the persons employed in the dairy, and also the labourers employed in the farm.

I accept the Amendment.

In view of the statement of the President of the Local Government Board that he is prepared to accept this Amendment, and as the whole thing was discussed the other night, I need not say anything further.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.

I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (3), to insert the words,

"and such officer or person appointed as aforesaid shall have the same power to require any cow to be milked, and samples of milk to be furnished to him as are vested in the medical officer of health of the authority whose duty it is under this Act to make the inspection."
Under this Clause where the rural councils of the county boroughs on the requisition of the authority where the milk is consumed carry out the inspection of the dairy, the medical officer of the county or a veterinary inspector or veterinary surgeon appointed by the authority, should they desire another veterinary surgeon, is allowed to be present at the inspection if either party so desire. Obviously the presence of an officer representing the authority where the milk is consumed could be of no value unless he is enabled to get evidence. At at the present time, of course, it is usual to take samples of the milk for use. The London County Council is most anxious to retain these powers. They will, of course, have no independent opportunity of inspection, and they do not ask for it. but they do wish that their inspector who accompanies the officer inspecting should be entitled to take samples. Such provision cannot possibly hurt the local authority responsible if they are doing their work, and the sample by the independent authority will only check the result and the power to take the sample will avoid friction by preventing any dispute as to whether the cow is tuberculous or not. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to accept this Amendment.

I certainly hope the House will not accept this Amendment, because it is entirely contrary to the spirit and intention of this Bill. The object of this Bill is to have uniformity of administration throughout the whole country, and the object, moreover, is to enable each authority to carry out the requisite duties within its own area, but not to permit an outside authority to come within the authority of the consuming district or to invade the locality in which the milk is produced. There seems to be no reason, if you are going to have uniformity of administration throughout the whole country, why you should give such power to the London County Council or to any other municipality which happens to have had passed in its favour a General Powers Act which contains certain powers which are now going to be superseded.

Let me put it on the footing that the hon. Gentleman is putting it, namely, that there should be in this case dual inspection.

There is dual inspection already. The London officer can accompany the medical officer, and all that we ask is that he should be allowed to take away some evidence.

That is a stronger claim than I thought the hon. Member was putting forward. We now know that the unfortunate producer of the milk is to be subject to a dual analysis, and subject, therefore, to the possible condemnation not of one authority, but of one of two authorities. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not accept this Amendment.

One of the main objections throughout the long controversy which has gone on for years on the Milk and Dairies Orders and on various attempts to pass general legislation by agriculturists and their representatives has been against invasion of any kind whatever. Farmers have accepted the idea of general inspection and legislation governing the production of milk, merely on the ground that it is going to sweep away local legislation with the powers of invasion causing great inconvenience and hardship in many parts of the country. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman if he gives way in the slightest degree at any stage of the Bill to the maintenance of the power of invasion, or the maintenance of the right of one authority to invade the area of another authority, he will never get his Bill. If he gets it through this House, he will not get it through the other House, and as we all want this general legislation to be passed in a reasonable form, he should resist this Amendment which we believe to be absolutely unnecessary.

I base my appeal to the right hon. Gentleman not to accept this Amendment on purely administrative grounds. I quite admit that under this Sub-section the medical officer who represents the consuming authority has got the right to come down and to be present at the inspection in the producing area. I admit invasion to that extent, but I suggest that if you allow the medical officer of the consuming area, not merely to be present as an observer of the inspection but to take an executive part in this inspection, and by taking away a sample he would be taking an executive part in the inspection, it would be opening the door to a great deal of friction between the medical officer and the local authority. The object of allowing the medical officer of the consuming authority to be present at the inspection is in order that he may be convinced that a thorough and proper inspection is being carried out. If you allow him to take away samples and submit them to an independent analysis you are opening the door to a good deal of needless administrative friction. I am much more interested in this question from the point of view of the consuming authority than the producing authority, but I suggest that you have to trust some of them. If your medical officers in the producing area are so incompetent or dishonest that they cannot be trusted with the taking of samples by the authorities in the consuming areas, it is time the right hon. Gentleman took other action to reform those authorities. In a matter of this sort it is necessary for the consuming authority to trust to the discretion and ability of the local authorities and the medical officers of health in the producing area. If we adopt the Amendment suggested by the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. W. Guinness) we shall be opening the door to a great deal of friction which will make the administration of the Act very difficult.

I confess that I had not foreseen all these difficulties, although I had formed the opinion that although this Amendment was of little use, it probably also would do little harm. I see now that there are possibilities of friction between the two authorities. If the officer of the authority which first takes action comes down to the rural district from which the milk comes, and if he is allowed to accompany the local medical officer and take a separate sample, he must take it for some purpose to have an independent analysis made. If two authorities have two analyses, the probability is that the second analysis could only be of use to enable one authority to quarrel with the other. The Mover of this Amendment must realise that his proposal is strongly opposed by many of those who are looking at this matter from different points of view, and who have rendered to this Bill loyal and consistent support. In the circumstances, I hope the hon. Member will not press his Amendment.

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will persist in his opposition to this Amendment, because I feel satisfied that it would interfere with efficiency. If we rely upon the vigilance of a duly appointed officer we are much more likely to get the result which we all desire than if there is a division of responsibility. Those interested in this trade will be quite willing to deal with one representative in the administration of the law, but if there is one thing more than another we object to, it is petty interference by two or three representatives of the law. I am satisfied that the acceptance of this Amendment would interfere with efficiency, and it would be extremely annoying to dairymen who are anxious to do all they can to secure a clean milk supply.

I am very much disappointed with the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman, because he gave me some ground for hoping that he would accept this Amendment. I think it is only due to the London County Council that I should give a word of explanation. Hon. Members representing rural districts do not quite understand what this Amendment means. It is said that this is a question of maintaining existing legislation, but as a matter of fact it would not give any fresh power of inspection. The London County Council has also been accused of having the intention of harassing local authorities by their inspection, but they cannot do that. They cannot have any controversies in the Court with the local authorities. All they can do, if they find local authorities are not carrying out this work, is to appeal to the Local Government Board, and therefore this is not a question of repeating jurisdiction. At the same time, I quite realise that I have no hope of carrying this Amendment. I relied on the right hon. Gentleman's reasonable frame of mind the other evening to enable this Amendment to go through without any difficulty, and I do not look for any borough Members to support me. Under these circumstances I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 5—(Power To Take Samples Of Milk)

(1) It shall be lawful for an inspector of the Local Government Board, or the medical officer of health of a local authority, or any person provided with and, if required, exhibiting an authority in writing from such an inspector or from the local authority or medical officer of health, to take for examination samples of milk at any time before it is delivered to the consumer:

Provided that the powers of a medical officer of health and of a person authorised by him or by the local authority under this Section shall, except so far as the Local Government Board may otherwise direct, be exercisable only within the area of the local authority.

(2) The result of an analysis or bacteriological or other examination of a sample of milk taken under this Act shall not be admissible as evidence in proceedings under this Act, or in proceedings under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1907, unless the provisions of the lastmentioned Acts which relate to the division of samples into parts are complied with, but if those provisions have been complied with, the result of the analysis shall be available for proceedings under the said Acts (as if it had been procured in accordance with those Acts) as well as for proceedings under this Act.

(3) The medical officer of health or any other officer authorised for the purpose by a local authority within the area of which milk from any dairy situate outside that area is being sold or exposed or kept for sale, may by notice in writing require the medical officer of health or other authorised officer of any other local authority being an authority for the purposes of the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1907, to take samples of the milk at that dairy or in the course of transit from that dairy to the area of the first-mentioned local authority.

(4) Upon receipt of such notice it shall be the duty of the medical officer of health or other authorised officer of the other authority to take samples and to forward, for analysis or bacteriological examination, to the officer who gave the notice a part of any sample so taken, and in taking a sample the officer shall, if so required by the notice, comply with the provisions of the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1907, which relate to the division of samples into parts.

The authority requiring the samples to be taken shall be liable to defray any reasonable expenses incurred, the amount whereof shall in default of agreement be settled by the Local Government Board.

For the purpose of the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1907, the sample shall be deemed to have been taken within the area of the officer who gave the notice, and proceedings under those Acts may be taken either before a Court having jurisdiction within the district for which that officer acts or before a Court having jurisdiction in the place where the sample was actually taken.

(5) In any proceedings under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1907, or this Act, the production of a certificate of the officer who took the sample under this Section that the provisions of this Section, as to the manner in which samples are to be dealt with, were complied with shall be sufficient evidence of compliance, unless the defendant requires that officer to be called as a witness.

(6) In the exercise at any railway station or upon any railway premises of the powers conferred upon them by this Section, such inspector, medical officer of health, or other person so authorised as aforesaid shall conform to such reasonable requirements of the railway company owning or using such station or premises as are necessary to prevent the working of the traffic thereat being obstructed or interfered with.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "for examination."

I think it is agreed on all sides that the bacteriological examination of milk, except for tuberculosis, is absolutely unreliable. It is quite certain that if three samples are taken, each sample will show a different bacteriological result when examined by different people. In this respect I can quote the authority of Mr. Savage, who was appointed by the Local Government Board to examine into these matters, and he investigated this procedure at the request of the Local Government Board. Mr. Savage wrote a very interesting book, in which he confirms the view I have expressed, and surely it is very hard upon the producer and the dairyman that a bacteriological examination should be made which everybody agrees is of no importance whatever. This is one of those harassing conditions which appear in the Bill a number of times, and I hope the House will agree to my proposal.

I am afraid I cannot accept this or any of the other Amendments standing in the name of the hon. Member on this subject. This Clause simply gives power to local authorities to take samples of milk, and there really is no reason for imposing the limitation which is sought to be imposed by this Amendment. Quite recently there have been two serious outbreaks of illness from Goertner bacillus infection, which comes from the disease of cow, and which can only be detected by a bacteriological examination of the milk. If this Amendment is carried, they could not examine the milk for this bacillus, and they could only do it by extra legal process, which would be contrary to the terms of this Act. I may point out that the typhoid and diphtheria bacillus can sometimes be detected by a bacteriological examination, and, as this science improves, perhaps it may become more useful. In these circumstances it is quite impossible for me to accept the Amendment.

I do not want to support this Amendment, but there is one statement which the right hon. Gentleman has made which has rather surprised me. The list of diseases which appear to be dangerous to human life appears in the first Schedule of the Bill. Presumably, a bacteriological examination would be conducted with a view to discovering those diseases. I may point out that the Goertner bacillus does not appear to be one of those diseases, and, therefore, I would like to ask whether it is intended that this bacteriological examination should rove over a wide field, and include other diseases than those which are mentioned in the first Schedule of this Bill?

I am sure we are all under a great deal of indebtedness to the hon. Member for North Paddington (Mr. A. Strauss) for bringing this question forward. I think the hon. Member for the Wilton Division (Mr. C. Bathurst) has raised an important point with regard to the diseases dealt with in the Schedule. If we are limited to the Schedule, then I do not quite see the relevancy of the right hon. Gentleman's reply.

The first Schedule imposes penalties upon the farmer for selling milk infected with certain diseases. The diseases named in the Schedule are such that the farmer cannot be expected to detect them himself, and consequently it is provided that when such diseases are discovered steps should be taken with regard to them, and the sale of milk should be interfered with, although this is not an offence in regard to which penalties ought to be imposed.

Amendment negatived.

I beg to move in Sub-section (1), at the end of the first paragraph, to add the words:—

"Provided that no proceedings under this Act shall be taken against any cowkeeper in respect of any sample of milk supplied by him unless such sample shall have been taken on the premises of such cowkeeper, or in cases where the milk is carried by railway at the railway station from which the milk is dispatched."
Probably this Amendment may be improved on further consideration, but as this Bill came on somewhat unexpectedly on Tuesday evening, I had to do the best I could in a very short time. I hope, however, that I have made my point clear. This is an important matter from the point of view of the farmer. It has been brought to my notice several times by farmers in my Constituency, and they have asked me to bring it before the notice of Parliament. I cannot find that the point I am raising has been dealt with during the Committee stage. A great number of farmers send their milk by rail to places some considerable distance away, and they have found that samples of the milk are taken after it has left their custody, and adulteration has taken place for which they are in no way responsible. My hon. Friend (Mr. Stanier) gave some remarkable instances on Tuesday of how these things happen. It is not necessary for me to go into any of them in detail. It does seem to me to be only fair, if you are going to take proceedings against a farmer in respect of an impurity which is found in the milk he has supplied, or if you are going to take proceedings because the milk does not contain sufficient fat, you ought to take the sample of the milk while it is in his custody on his premises, or, if he sends it by railway, then let the sample be taken at the railway station from which it is dispatched. The milk cans, as we know, are not locked, because most railway companies do not allow them to be locked, and we have had many instances where milk has been abstracted and water has been put in by somebody during its transit. There would be no practical difficulty about it, for this reason: Supposing a sample were taken at the delivery end and it was found that the milk was not up to standard, or had been adulterated, then the inspectors or the responsible authority, if they wanted to make a case against the farmer, could go to the farm and take a sample of the milk while it was at the farm or at the railway station from which it was dispatched. There are provisions in this Bill which affect this matter. If hon. Members will kindly look at Clause 2, Subsection (1), paragraph (d), they will see that it gives the Local Government Board power to make regulations for—
"the prohibition of the addition of colouring matter and the prohibition or regulation of the addition of skimmed or separated milk, or water, or any other substance, to milk intended for sale for human consumption, or the abstraction therefrom of butter-fat or any other constituent,"
and in Sub-section (3)—
"If any person is guilty of a contravention of or non-compliance with the provisions of any Milk and Dairies Order, he shall be guilty of an offence against this Act."
The Local Government Board therefore can make Regulations with regard to this matter, and anyone can be prosecuted for any breach of them. Clause 5 gives the local authority or the proper officer, the medical officer of health, or the person appointed, power to take samples of milk at any time before its delivery to the consumer. It is, therefore, quite possible to prosecute the farmer in respect of his milk based upon a sample taken at the point of delivery when as a matter of fact he may not be responsible in any shape or form for the impurity which has got into the milk. It is said that there are some provisions put in this Bill which give the farmer some protection. With great respect, I do not think that those provisions go anything like far enough. There is in Clause 15, Sub-section (3), this provision:—
"Where the occupier of a dairy is charged with an offence against this Act, he shall be entitled upon information duly laid by him to have any other person whom he charges as the actual offender brought before the Court."
How in the world is he going to specify the man who has been guilty of putting impurities into the milk during transit? It is quite impossible for him to do it, and this Section really gives him no protection whatever. Then, again, it is said, in Schedule 3, paragraph (6):—
"If a sample of milk of cows in any dairy is taken in course of transit or delivery from that dairy, the owner of the cows may, within forty-eight hours after the sample of milk was procured, serve on the local authority a notice requesting them to procure within a period not exceeding forty-eight hours a sample of milk from a corresponding milking of the cows."
That has been called the "appeal to the cow," but that does not affect this point. The only effect of it is to give notice to the farmer if a sample of milk is taken during transit, and to give him the right to call upon the officer to take a further sample from the corresponding milking, and it stops there. It simply gives the farmer an opportunity of a second sample being taken. I suppose it can be produced at the proceedings if he wants it, but it is a double-edged weapon, because it might very easily weigh against the farmer instead of in his favour. I am not at all certain that this Clause might not have been better drafted, but I think I have made the point clear, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will listen to it with favour. I have used the word "cowkeeper," because, if I had used the word "dairyman," I should have included not only the farmer but also the retail shopkeeper. The word "dairyman" by the Definition Clause in this Bill includes not only the farmer, the man who supplies the milk in the first instance, but also the purveyor of milk. I hope the Amendment will be favourably received by the House. I think it only fair, if you are going to take proceedings against the farmer in respect of his milk, that you should take samples from that milk while it is in his custody, or at all events at the station from which it is dispatched.

I beg to second the Amendment. I can confirm every word my hon. and learned Friend has said. The Amendment is one suggested by an agricultural meeting of county councils at which I was present and at which the feeling was generally expressed that there was an injustice to the farmer in connection with the taking of samples. Everybody is aware that under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act great precautions are taken to see fair play is given to the sellers of foods and drugs, but in this matter the farmer feels that he does not receive fair play. Only last Monday I was at a railway station very early in the morning, and I saw the milk churns going away. They were all open. I asked the stationmaster why they were open, and he said that they insisted on them being left open, and did not allow them to be sealed up. Farmers feel that when their goods are consigned to a distance there should at any rate be some protection that they are not adulterated, that water is not added or milk extracted. I therefore support the Amendment, which I hope the Government will see their way to accept.

The hon. Member who moved this Amendment has said that under Clause 2 there are considerable powers for making regulations to prevent the sale of adulterated milk or milk from which butter fat has been extracted and so forth. It is comparatively easy to make regulations, but it is very hard indeed to enforce them. There is no doubt that now a good deal of adulterated or impoverished milk is sold, not because the law does not prohibit its sale, but because the enforcement of the law is not adequate. Local authorities find it very difficult indeed in many eases to take samples and to detect the adulterators, whom no one in this House, of course, would wish to see escape punishment. If the hon. Member's proposal were accepted, the effect would be that any cowkeeper in the town, and there are very large numbers of them in every town, could send out his milk and could adulterate it as soon as it left his premises, and there would be no power to take samples.

We had to consider the Amendment as the hon. and learned Member moved it. I think he will find it extremely difficult to discover any form of words which will really cover all the proper cases. There is the possibility, no doubt, of a grievance on the part of the farmers on account of the adulteration of the milk at the railway station, or subsequently, but the way to meet that is by dealing with the question of the churns. I am by no means convinced that the farmers, the milk sellers, and the railway companies between them, have at present reached the right conclusion on the question of the churns. There was an elaborate inquiry conducted by the Local Government Board with respect to the type of churns to be used, and, after this Bill is passed, I propose to make a very careful inquiry as to the Regulations that ought to be made with respect to the type of churns to be used. You cannot by a stroke of the pen insist upon modern churns being used in all cases at once, but I do think it is necessary to approach the railway companies with respect to their rule against locked churns being used, and with a view of giving the farmers an opportunity of sending their milk in receptacles which will not render them liable to having it adulterated on the road. I feel certain that the Amendment is not admissible, and would cause the greatest difficulty to local authorities in the administration of the law. We want to strengthen the present law, and not to weaken it. The present law does allow the milk to be sampled on delivery to the customers, but the hon. Member's Amendment would cut short the powers which are at present used by the local authority.

Nobody wants to see the adulteration of milk, and, if the particular words used would leave a loophole for the escape of those whom we do not want to see escape, by all means let us see if we cannot find an alternative form of words. It is important that we should avoid doing anything that savours in the least of injustice to the milk producers, and I am rather disappointed that the right hon. Gentleman has not met my hon. and learned Friend's point a little more fully. After all, he cannot want any more than we do to inflict any hardship or injustice upon the milk producers, and, if the right hon. Gentleman will not accept this form of words, I hope before the Bill finally passes into law that he will really consider the matter and see if the point cannot be met and dealt with by means of an Amendment in another place. My hon. and learned Friend does not in the least wish to let off the cowkeeper in the town who adulterates his milk, but he wants to prevent hardship in the case of farmers and milk producers in the country on account of samples being taken after the milk has left their custody, and I sympathise with him entirely. The point is plain, and I know that the right hon. Gentleman appreciates and understands it. Surely it cannot pass the wit of the Local Government Board or of the House of Commons or of the House of Lords, and of all the officials who might be called in to assist, to find a form of words that would meet an obvious grievance!

The hon. Member has made an appeal that we should consider the matter further. The hon. and learned Member who has moved the Amendment admits that in form it is not really satisfactory. I shall be very glad to consult with him between now and the Bill reaching another place to see if we can come to a solution of this question. Though I cannot give a definite pledge that we shall be able to do so, I will do my best.

The President of the Local Government Board rather misunderstood the intention and the effect of the Amendment, because he pointed out that already powers were given to take samples at the place of delivery. This will not interfere in the least with the taking of samples anywhere it is desired, and, as my hon. and learned Friend took great pains to point out, the discovery of polluted milk at a railway station where the milk arrived might be ground for suspecting the milk producer, and lead to the taking of further samples, either on the premises of the producer, or at the railway station where he put it on the rail. It is not intended to interfere in the least with the taking of samples. I would like to point out that in the last line of the paragraph we have just passed, there are the words "at any time." We are not going back on that at all. We are only limiting the prosecution to which the farmer is likely to be liable to samples taken, not at any time, but while the milk is within his reasonable control. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will bear that in mind, and will not think that this Amendment, even in a somewhat modified form, will interfere with the taking of samples.

We have had one side of the case emphasised, namely, that of the farmer producing the milk. Of course, no one in this House wants legislation which would do anyone an injustice. But there is another side which I hope the right hon. Gentleman will bear in mind in considering and acting upon this suggestion, and that is the side of the much larger number of people—the consumers of milk—who are entitled to get milk of a definite standard. The difficulty at present is to bring to book anyone of those who handle the milk before the consumer receives it, in case of adulteration. They all escape, and if this Amendment in this form were accepted, it might well mean that, although you had got milk delivered to a house in London which was adulterated badly, you would be able to convict nobody of any offence. That is the position which ought at all costs to be avoided. The existing state of the law is this: That the seller is bound by law to sell milk up to a certain standard, and it is no answer, in any proceedings against him, to say that the adulteration did not take place on his premises. There are cases where it was proved that the milk was abstracted from the cans on the railway journey, and water was added to make up the quantity. The dairyman who was robbed was convicted because the milk he sold was not up to the standard it ought to have been. That may seem hard, but I think it is right. It is obvious that a retailer who undertakes to supply to the public milk of a certain standard should do so. The difficulty might be got over in this way: If the farmer is not prepared to take responsibility for the milk beyond a certain stage—and I understand the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite wants to limit his liability to the time he delivers it at the station—why cannot that be the time of delivery to the customer? In that case, if the retailer takes responsibility for it at the time it is delivered to him at the place whence it is dispatched, then you have got one or the other. My point is that the authorities must be careful that either the farmer who dispatches or the retailer who receives shall be held responsible for the condition of the milk. This Amendment will not secure that. The term "cowkeeper" is used. But that is a term which is not defined in the Bill. It is no doubt included with a number of other terms under the definition of "dairy," but it only shows the difficulty of the matter, and I do appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to take care that the provisions are such that if the milk is not up to the standard when it is sold to the consumer it shall be possible to make someone responsible, either the farmer or the wholesale dealer, or the retailer, and bring them to book. They must take the responsibility for the milk.

I very much hope the President of the Local Government Board will be able to find some words that will carry out actually the idea of the hon. Member who has moved this Amendment, even if he cannot accept the words as they appear upon the Paper to-day. The reason why I say so is this: The farmer is very often blamed for no fault of his own. The cans are not always sealed, and perhaps for a considerable time they will not be bound to be sealed. We must, therefore, put in some words that will carry on the work in a way that ensures that fair play shall be given to the farmer in the meantime. My hon. Friend the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) seemed very surprised indeed that I should have said anything against a railway company, inasmuch as I happen to be a director of a company. But that is the very case I want to bring forward. When this Bill was under discussion the night before last I spoke about the extraordinary things that go on at some railway stations in London. It is not the fault of the railway company, because the company has handed over the milk and the cans to the receiver of that milk, and they have also at the same time handed over their power of control. If I may take up the time of the House for a few minutes, I should like to read some evidence that was given at the London Sessions in a case of this kind the other day. Here it is:—

"Some surprising statements as to how milk arriving at Paddington Station in the early hours of the morning is borrowed from one churn and the shortage replaced by milk from another intended for another dairy company were made by Alfred Ingram, a well-dressed young man, of Thorngate Road. Paddington, who was indicted on a charge of stealing a churn and seventeen gallons of milk belonging to the Great Western and Metropolitan Dairies Company, Limited. In the witness-box the accused said he was allowed by his dealers to buy and sell milk, and it was a practice to lend and borrow it, no record being kept of the transactions. That happened in the present case.
Mr. Wallace, K.C., remarked that the practice rendered the whole system of guarantees, under which the milk trade was carried on, absolutely worthless. A custom more calculated to lead to dishonest practices it. was impossible to conceive."
Here is the pith of the whole point:—
"The jury found Ingram not guilty, but added that the practice at Paddington was most reprehensible, and calculated to lead to fraud."
There is the whole point of the thing, and this Amendment brought forward by my hon. Friend is to prevent adulteration at railway stations. This is one case showing what has gone on at Paddington. There are any number of similar cases that might be quoted. But here we have, at any rate, sworn evidence given in a Court of Justice, and I suppose, therefore, the statements may be taken to be absolutely correct. On the strength of them we press that some words such as those suggested by my hon. Friend shall be put into the Bill to enable the fraud, when it is committed, to be placed on the shoulders of those who perpetrate it.

I regret the rather indefinite assurance which the right hon. Gentleman has given us with regard to this Amendment. I think the right hon. Gentleman can hardly realise what enormous importance the dairy community attached to a provision of this kind. I am in close touch with the dairy farmers in my Constituency, and ever since I have been connected with the constituency this is one of the grievances continually brought to my notice. I feel it would be a most unfortunate thing if, now we are dealing with the whole question of the milk supply, we should not put into the Bill some provision of this sort, and give this protection to the farming community. It appears to me to be a mere act of justice. My hon. Friend admits that some alteration is required in the drafting of the Amendment, but the arguments which have been advanced in opposition to it seem to show that the hon. Members putting them forward have not really given full consideration to the question. I could not understand what the hon. Member for Stepney (Mr. Glyn-Jones) really suggested ought to be done. I think he said the farmer ought to be responsible for the milk until it reaches the consumer.

Until he legally delivers it to the customer. If he likes he may legally deliver it to the customer at the station from which it is dispatched.

I misunderstood the hon. Gentleman's proposal. My hon. Friend wants to limit the liability of the farmer to the railway station from which the milk is actually dispatched. I think that is absolutely fair, and it is a proposal to which the farming community attach very great importance. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give a definite and clear undertaking that this matter shall be dealt with in the Bill when it reaches another place.

The right hon. Gentleman, in opposing this Amendment, raised two objections to its acceptance. He said it was difficult to detect adulteration. I quite agree. But his proposal would not in any way obviate the detection of adulteration so far as it provides means of detection. We ask that in the attempt to detect adulteration, care shall be taken that the wrong person is not incriminated. The first paragraph of this Clause provides for the taking for examination of samples of milk at any time before the milk is delivered to the consumer. My hon. and learned Friend says that in the case of any sample taken with the view of incriminating the cowkeeper, it should be taken while the milk is under the control of the cowkeeper. Surely that is only fair. The other objection raised by the right hon. Gentleman was that as the Bill is now framed, it will be in the power of the Local Government Board to issue Orders for the sealing of churns. These Orders may or may not be issued, but at any rate the cowkeeper in this respect is subject to the caprice of a Government Department whether or not he receives that added perfection. I do not consider that that is fair. I did not quite understand what the hon. Member for Stepney meant when he suggested that the cowkeeper should be held responsible for the milk until he delivered it to the consumer. The ordinary natural interpretation of that would be a great injustice to the cowkeeper, because he cannot travel with the churn.

The hon. Gentleman knows that in law some one must own the milk. If the farmer wants to protect himself in this way he can say, "I deliver the milk to you at the station. It is your milk. It is in your possession. You must be responsible for it." My point is that care must be taken that one or other of these people shall be held responsible.

5.0 P.M.

Does the hon. Gentleman seriously suggest that the farmer or the cowkeeper is going to make a contract on those terms? I am certain he will do nothing of the sort. Does the hon. Gentleman realise what is the ordinary owner's risk contract with the railway company? After the milk leaves the control of the producer at the station—

Who does the hon. Member suggest should take the responsibility, if it is neither the farmer nor the vendor?

I say emphatically, although I believe I am surrounded by railway directors, that the railway companies must be made responsible for any impurities that may pass into these churns while in transitu between the producer and the consumer. May I illustrate what I mean by my experience not very long ago at a railway station, where milk churns were being moved from one train to another. I myself saw an emaciated porter, possibly suffering from tuberculosis, sneezing into an open churn full of milk. It is just that sort of milk for which we ought to provide, and against the possibility of that kind of thing we ought to protect innocent producers.

I sincerely trust that before we pass from this Amendment we may have something a little more definite than the right hon. Gentleman has yet given us. Throughout this Bill he has taken up a most sympathetic attitude as regards farmers and agricultural interests, and I hope he will maintain that attitude by giving us something more definite upon this point now. There is a good deal to be said for the Amendment. All it asks is that the farmer should not be made responsible for the milk after it has passed out of his control. I represent a great dairy constituency in Cheshire, and time after time farmers there have mentioned this point to me as being a gross injustice from which they are liable to suffer. The speech of the hon. Member for Stepney seemed to be rather a good speech in favour of the Amendment, because he told us of cases where milk has been taken out of the can and water poured in, yet the farmer is held responsible.

I will certainly do my best to. meet this grievance, but I cannot accept the Amendment in its present form, for it really needs somewhat careful consideration. Suppose, for example, we make Regulations later on that all churns should be sealed, and a farmer does send up his milk in a sealed churn, and it leaves the farmer's custody and goes to London, where it is unsealed in the presence of a sampling officer, and is found to be adulterated. It would be very absurd if we should not be able to prosecute the farmer in that case, and similarly in regard to the middleman. The case is not so simple as hon. Members seem to think. I will consider it carefully, and consult hon. Members opposite as to a possible form of Amendment.

I desire to support the appeal to the right hon. Gentleman. We fully appreciate the ability he has shown in this particular matter, but the feeling is intense that while farmers are prepared to take the responsibility for any breach of the law while the milk is in their possession, it is very unfair that they should be held responsible for the milk after it has left their possession. Any branch of British subjects would feel it is only fair that farmers should be held responsible only while the milk is in their possession.

I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for what he has said. I understand that he accepts the principle of this Amendment, although I quite agree it does require alteration. Upon that understanding I ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "except so far as the Local Government Board may otherwise direct."

I do not know why these words are inserted in the Bill. It seems that they give the Local Government Board power to go behind and beyond the main principle of the Bill, which is that there should be no interference between the officials of local authorities, and that the officials of one local authority should not act in the area of another local authority. I do not know what cases the Local Government Board contemplate in which their direction otherwise may be necessary. As the words appear to give too large powers to the Local Government Board and contravene the whole principle of the Bill, I thought it well to move their omission in order to get some explanation of their purpose from the right hon. Gentleman.

I admit that these words are put in in contemplation of what would be exceedingly rare cases. Very likely the power will never be used at all, but there is a possibility that it may be required to be used in a case where some local authority is very obstructive, and will not take samples at the request of another authority. The Clause does not allow inspection of cows or any invasion of any sort or kind; it deals only with the question of sample. It might occur that some authority is obstructive and will not take samples at the request of another, and, instead of proceeding by way of mandamus or declaring them in default, the Local Government Board may say to them: "If you will not do this, we shall have to get somebody else to do it." That might bring them to reason, and they would proceed to carry out the Bill. These words have never been questioned before by any of the authorities who have carefully scrutinised the Bill. They were not objected to in Committee, and there is no harm in them The Local Government Board would not exercise the power except in exceptional circumstances, in order to avoid other proceedings.

The right hon. Gentleman knows how very jealous one local authority is of the invasion of its territory by officers of another authority. I think these are very rare cases, and it would have been better for the Local Government Board to send their own officers to deal with the matter.

Then surely you could proceed against the local authority by means of inandamus or otherwise. It should be the duty of the Local Government Board to bring home to the local authority its default, and it should not be a question of handing over that business to the officer of some other local authority. I do not want to press the point unduly, but I am anxious that we should give as little power as possible to the officers of one local authority to invade the territory of another.

I should like to enforce one point in answer to what the right hon. Gentleman has said. The Local Government Board may find themselves subjected to a good deal of pressure on this point. A very powerful body like the London County Council might like to get this power for their officials. We know that some large municipalities have endeavoured to get it in private Bills. The Local Government Board may find themselves subjected to pressure, and, these words being in the Bill, they will find it difficult to resist it. I quite appreciate what the right hon. Gentleman says as to a local authority being in default, In that case would it not be better to leave out the words and meet the case at default by some special proviso, so that where there is default the Local Government Board may send people to take samples or make arrangements with the Board of Agriculture for that purpose? That would be far more satisfactory. Perhaps on further consideration the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to take these words out.

These words would be extremely useful. They would allow, provided the Local Government Board are satisfied, of a proper arrangement being made. Apart from these words there is nothing in the Bill which would enable a local authority to say, "Please, London, come and do it. We prefer you to do it."

These words may be interpreted as giving a very large power to the Local Government Board, which the right hon. Gentleman himself does not contemplate. For instance, I should like to know whether these words can be interpreted to apply only to the specific cases in which the Local Government Board may deem it absolutely necessary to interfere in order to get the purport and the intention of this Bill carried out. It is quite possible that if the words "may otherwise direct" are construed in their widest possible sense, they might conceivably authorise the Local Government Board to issue general Orders sanctioning the intervention in one district by the official of the local authority in another district. In fact, these words might possibly enable the Local Government Board in every case, through the medium of a general Order, to authorise that very invasion against which we have stood out from the time the Bill was introduced into this House.

Question, "That the words, 'except so far as the Local Government Board may otherwise direct' stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the words "an analysis or," and to insert instead thereof the word "a."

The words I propose to leave out—there are three Amendments standing in my name which hang together, their chief object being to leave out the words "or other"—gives any medical officer the power to make any kind of examination he likes. I understand that the President of the Board interprets the word "bacteriological" in its widest sense. That examination will give quite sufficient trouble and cause quite sufficient confusion to lead to misunderstandings. There are dozens of methods of testing milk scientifically, but I am informed by those who deal largely in milk that when it conies to a commercial test they have all proved useless, and especially is that so in the case of mixed milk, where you cannot possibly trace any infection by the various methods that have been introduced. I have here a list of a large number of these tests which might possibly be used by a medical officer just as the fancy takes him. That is very unfair to the milk vendor, because the medical officer is sure to use one or other of these tests. They can be carried out in five minutes. They do not give him any trouble, and are no expense to him. He will probably use a test which is commercially unreliable. The vendor is already sufficiently hindered by bacteriological examination, and I do not see why a medical officer should have the power to use any other test, which may be a test he has invented himself, and unknown to anybody else.

I think the hon. Member's speech was mainly devoted to the words "or other," which is not the Amendment which has been put from the Chair. I do not know whether he intended to move to leave out "analysis." Surely he does not want to prevent analytical examination!

We ought to have heard some argument in support of the Amendment. The hon. Member wants to leave out on this Clause the admissibility of the result of an analysis of the milk. Surely, if this Clause has any purpose at all, it is to enable milk to be analysed with a view to seeing whether it is adulterated or whether the fats have been extracted from it! The words in question say that evidence may be adduced in Court with reference to the result of an analysis or bacteriological examination. That, surely, is right if you wish to detect whether certain diseases are present in the milk, and the words "or other" are put in simply in order to cover microscopical examination, which might not be, strictly speaking, becteriological. It is a small point—no more than a drafting point. It is necessary to have wide words.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

I beg to move to leave out the words "or in proceedings under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1907."

The object of this Amendment is to prevent the mixing up of the Food and Drugs Act with this Act, and if my Amendments are accepted the Clause will read, after the word "examination," "shall not be admissible as evidence in proceedings under this Act unless the provisions of the sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1875 to 1907, which relate to the division of samples into parts are complied with, but if those provisions have been complied with, the result of the examination shall be available for proceedings under this Act." The object is to prevent samples which are meant for the Food and Drugs Act to be sent on under this Clause. If the right hon. Gentleman will read the Clause carefully he will see that what will probably happen is that samples may be sent to the public analyst for Food and Drugs Act purposes, and may be sent to the veterinary inspector for bacteriological examination. The veterinary surgeon does not want any bacteriological examination nor does the public analyst want any kind of analysis to be made by the veterinary inspector. The wording of the Act certainly would entail these consequences. I wish to make it clear that these two Acts should not be mixed up together, but that the samples should be sent, either according to one Act or according to the other, to the right person.

The effect of the Amendment would be to make all procedure under Clause 5 unavailable for the purpose of the Sale of Food and Drugs Act. It is essential that the samples taken should be available for proceedings under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act, which is the Act which deals with the adulteration of milk and all other food products and drugs. I cannot conceive why the hon. Member should wish to deprive the community of the protection which may be given by the sampling Clause of this Bill for the prevention of adulteration in milk.

Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part' of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (4), after the word "shall" ["it shall be the duty"], to insert the words "subject to the provisions of Subsection (1) of this Section."

The object of this is to ensure that there shall be no invasion on the part of any medical officer in taking samples under the Clause. The proviso in Sub-section (1) should, in my opinion, have come at the end of the Clause so as to cover the whole procedure contemplated in the Clause, but failing that, I ask by this Amendment that it shall be subject to the terms of that proviso, which prevents the medical officer of health exercising his powers outside his own area, so as to prevent any invasion taking place in respect of such sampling and forwarding as is contemplated by that Sub-section.

This Amendment makes clearer what is the purpose of the Clause, and I shall be glad to accept it.

Question "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to,

Further Amendment made: After the word "authority" ["authorised officer of the other authority"], insert the words "as soon as practicable."

I beg to move to leave out the word "and" ["and proceedings under those Acts"] and to insert instead thereof the word "but."

I want to make the rest of the Clause read, "but the proceedings under those Acts shall be taken before a Court having jurisdiction in the place where the sample was actually taken." Under the Clause as it stands the procedure seems to be that an authority in London may object to milk which is sent from Wiltshire, and may apply to the medical authorities in Wiltshire to take samples of that milk. When the milk turns out badly, proceedings may either be taken in London or in Wiltshire. I think the spirit of the Act is to put the administration into the hands of the county authorities and not of the London authority, and it seems to me a wrong thing that, if that is the purpose of the Act, the farmer or his witnesses should be put to the trouble and expense of coming up to London for a case which could be perfectly well tried, and I think very much better tried, in a local Court.

I beg to second the Amendment.

This matter was discussed in Committee and the right hon. Gentleman, though he did not make a definite promise, said he would consider whether some alteration could be made. The point is this: A large quantity of milk is sent to London from Yeovil and Salisbury, and we think it would be reasonable that if a prosecution is found to be necessary it should take place where the milk was produced. It would be extremely burdensome for a farmer, and perhaps half a dozen milkers and other witnesses, to have to come to London to give evidence, and surely it would be only fair that where a man has had the misfortune to break the law he should be dealt with there, rather than a hundred miles off. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will be able to meet us in that respect.

The purpose which the hon. Member has in view will not really be effected by this Amendment because the sample in such a case might be taken in London. Suppose the sample was taken at the railway station. The proceedings then could only be taken in that district. Further, under the provisions of the Bill there are many cases in which the person proceeded against will be the retailer in London who has been found selling adulterated milk. He claims that he is not the guilty party, but that if the milk was adulterated it was adulterated when sent to him by the person in the country who consigned it to him. Under the procedure of the Bill we have to have a process which is called sampling back, and the milk is sampled back to the middleman and from the middleman to the farmer, and it is found where the supply of milk is adulterated on its way. It would be extremely inconvenient if separate proceedings had to be taken in a case of that kind, first in the town district, where the dealer is involved, and then in the country district, where the farmer may be involved. Surely, one Court ought to have cognisance of the whole case. I am afraid the Amendment would introduce considerable confusion into the administration of this part of the law. I have no doubt that the Court, if the case was one in which all the witnesses were in an outlying district, would require that it should be taken there instead of in London where non" of the parties were resident or were concerned, and naturally that would be the ordinary course of procedure as is, I think, the case now.

Question, "That the word 'and' stand part of the Bill" put, and agreed to.

I beg to move, in Sub-section (6), after the word "railway" ["at any railway station"], to insert the words "or other."

The Clause provides that an inspector shall not go to any railway station at any time when his presence might obstruct or interfere with the working of the traffic. I really do not see why the same courtesy should not be extended to the dairyman, to large business men and small shopmen, and even to the farmers. It is most inconvenient that the inspector should arrive at the time when the cows are being milked or the carts are being filled or the dairyman is very busy. The same courtesy which is volunteered to the railway companies ought to be accorded to business men, and these three Amendments will accomplish that.

I am still very unfortunate with the hon. Member's Amendments. I should be glad if I could come across one which I was able to accept from his hands, but he would bring into the privileges of this proviso the very wholesale and other dairymen whom it is specially necessary to inspect by putting in the words "or business." Of course you are not dealing merely with businesses analogous to railway companies, such as canal companies or dock companies. You bring in every dairyman, and it would give an excuse for dairymen and wholesale providers who may be guilty of adulteration. There are certainly such cases, and if you want to catch them you would give them an opportunity of escaping the inspectors. For that reason I am afraid I cannot accept the Amendment.

My hon. Friend desires to put these people in the same position as other carriers. If the right hon. Gentleman would accept the Amendment it would accomplish the object of my hon. Friend, and I do not think it would be in any way contrary to the argument which he has used. It is quite reasonable that they should have facilities equal to those given to railway companies, and, therefore, I hope the Amendment will be accepted.

I will consider the point. I do not know at present whether it is one of very great substance.

Amendment negatived.

Clause 6—(Amendment Of Sale Of Food And Drugs Acts)

The provisions of the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1907, in reference to the taking of samples of milk, and any proceedings in connection therewith, shall be amended in accordance with the provisions contained in the Second Schedule to this Act.

Amendment made: Leave out "Second" and insert "Third."—[ Mr. Herbert Samuel.]

I beg to move, at the end of the Clause, to add the words,

"So much of any contract, whether made before or after the passing of this Act, as requires a purveyor of milk on a sample of his milk being taken under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1907, to send to the person from whom he procured the milk any part of such sample or to give such person notice that a sample has been so taken, shall be null and void."
This Amendment is rendered necessary by some other provisions of the Bill which have been referred to in the Debate by the right hon. Gentleman as the "following-up process." What is to happen under the Bill if it becomes law? When the authorities at present take a sample from a retail dairyman in London it is sometimes found that he has a warranty for the milk. In a Schedule of this Bill it is provided that in future the authorities may take samples from subsequent deliveries of milk from the same supply in order that some check may in that way be afforded as to the character of the milk which is being delivered at that time. As hon. Members know, in cases under the Sale of Food and Drugs Act where milk is involved there is often great controversy in Court as to whether the wholesale dealer supplied adulterated milk and whether the retailer sold it as he received it. A warranty is pleaded, and if the retailer proves that he sold the milk as he received it he escapes. The difficulty at present is that you cannot convict anybody, because if you have to proceed against the wholesaler it is almost impossible to prove that he supplied adulterated milk. The later provisions in this Bill provide some means for checking the truth of the statement of the wholesaler. For the first time when the authorities take a sample from a London retailer on Monday morning he will be able to say, "I have the milk from a certain wholesaler, and the next delivery will be to-night or to-morrow morning." The authorities will take a sample from the supply when it comes in the later deliveries. That will be same guidance to the Court as to whether the wholesale people are really tampering with the milk.

When that provision appeared in the Bill a number of London dairymen called attention to a practice which would make this "following-up process" worthless. A large number of small dairymen get their supplies from large wholesale suppliers in London, and I am told that the same remark applies to other large towns. They get it under contract. Part of the contract is that the milk is warranted, but there is also a clause in the contract that a retailer, immediately the authorities take a sample from him, shall communicate with the wholesaler and send to him the sample which has been left with the retailer. The House will see that if this is to go on there is no possible use of following up the sample, for if the authorities take a sample on Monday morning the retailer under his contract will immediately communicate with the wholesaler and send him the sample which has been left with him. The wholesalers will know that the authorities are sampling the milk, and when they send milk for subsequent deliveries during the next few days the supplies are certain to be all right, and instead of being of any value this provision in the Schedule will be a serious danger to the retailers. Therefore, I move the insertion of these words which would make the condition in the contract void. There is no need at all why the wholesaler should have the sample unless proceedings are subsequently taken. Then there would be the evidence of the third analysis. The object of the Amendment is to prevent the wholesaler from getting the sample which has been taken and given to the retailer. There would be no possible use in taking samples if the part left with the retailer is to be sent to the wholesaler.

I have had an opportunity of consulting my hon. Friend on this proposal. I certainly think that some such provision is necessary in order to prevent the purpose of this Act being defeated. I hope the House will accept the Amendment.

I hope the House will not accept the Amendment unless we have an explanation of its effect from the right hon. Gentleman. At first sight it appears that this Amendment is an ordinary precaution required in the interest of justice, but I am not at all satisfied with the explanation given by the hon. Gentleman who moved it. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give the House the official version as to how this Clause, if amended in the way proposed, would work in practice.

I might have made a fuller statement in regard to the Amendment, but I did not anticipate that it would give rise to any criticism. As my hon. Friend has pointed out, a certain number of wholesalers do make it a condition in their contracts that when a retail tradesman has a sample taken he shall immediately inform them of the fact. Whenever samples of milk are taken they are divided into three parts. One is taken for analysis by the officer, one is handed over to the person from whom the sample is taken, and the third is kept in reserve for later analysis if there is any dispute as to the first analysis. The provisions of this Bill contemplate that when a sample has been taken from a retailer and it is found to be wrong in some way, he should have the right of telling the local authority to take a sample of milk on the way to him from the wholesaler, and that sample may be used as evidence in Court for what it is worth, if it is found that the first sample taken from the retailer's stock in course of delivery is adulterated. If it is found that milk subsequently supplied to him is delivered in the same condition, then, if the retailer is a person of honest character, and if he swears that he has not adulterated it, the presumption will be that the milk has been adulterated on the way to him. In Manchester, where there is no such provision in the contracts, this course has been followed with considerable success. I believe that all parties in Manchester are satisfied with the system. Justice is done, and the person who is really responsible for the adulteration is punished. It has been suggested by persons connected with the working of the milk trade that our purpose will be defeated entirely by the provision in the contract that when a sample is taken the retailer shall communicate with the wholesaler, because the wholesaler would be alarmed, and he would stop the adulteration of the milk, so that when it came to the retailer it would be found to be all right, and the probability is that the retailer would be convicted for selling adulterated milk. The wholesaler will not be prejudiced by this, because there is always the third sample of milk, and if the wholesaler disputes the accuracy of the analysis, he can always recur to the third sample and have that analysed, and so justice will be done as regards him. It appears to me that the proposal of my hon. Friend, which is drawn from the Manchester system, imposes no hardship or disability on the wholesale dealer.

The only thing I object to in the Amendment is that it is retrospective, and I do not see any object in that. If we can avoid it, I do not think that we should void contracts and I would ask the hon. Member if he would leave out the words "before or," so that the Amendment would read

"So much of any contract, whether made before or after the passing of this Act …."

The only difficulty about that is that contracts are made for long periods—sometimes six months, or even twelve months. If this Act came into force at once, the Clause would not apply to milk supplied until the expiration of current contracts.

We all know that that would not apply in the case of milk contracts made with farmers in this country.

Amendments made in proposed Amendments: Leave out the word "whether." Leave out the words "before or."

Proposed words, as amended, inserted in the Bill.

Clause 7—(Appointment Of Veterinary Inspectors)

(1) A local authority may, and when required by the Local Government Board shall, appoint or combine with another local authority in appointing one or more veterinary inspectors or employ for the purposes of this Act and the Milk and Dairies Orders any veterinary inspector appointed under the Diseases of Animals Act, 1894, and any local authority may, and when required by the Local Government Board shall, provide or arrange for the provision of such facilities for bacteriological or other examinations of milk, as may be approved by the Board.

(2) Any Order requiring a combination of local authorities for the purposes of this Section may provide for all matters incidental to such combination, and in particular how the expenses incurred are to be apportioned.

I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (1), to insert the words "dairymen being entitled to avail themselves of such facilities at a nominal charge."

The object of the Bill is to have clean, pure milk, but cases may arise when farmers may suddenly have a suspicion that one of his cows is giving tuberculous milk. In such a case he ought to be able to test quickly whether there are any grounds for his apprehension, and he could do so if he had this facility for a bacteriological examination of the milk, and if his apprehensions were well grounded he could at once stop disposing of the milk. On the principle that prevention is better than cure, I cannot help thinking that the acceptance of this Amendment would often be the means of preventing the pollution of the milk, and thereby enabling a farmer to avoid prosecution for an offence committed quite unwittingly. If dairymen had access to this bacteriological examination it would often be the means of preventing a breach of the law, and of producing a state of things which we should all prefer to see brought about by mutual arrangement rather than by prosecution. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will accept this proposal.

I beg to second the Amendment. We are all very anxious that the milk supply should be pure, and it is most desirable that farmers should have an opportunity of detecting whether milk is tuberculous before putting it on the market, and before they are proceeded against. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give favourable consideration to the matter.

This is a Clause which provides that the local authorities may, and when required by the Local Government Board shall, provide certain facilities for bacteriological and other examinations. The hon. Member-proposes that local authorities shall be obliged to give facilities to dairymen to have their milk examined at a nominal charge. It is not a duty imposed on the Government but on the local authorities, and it applies not only in the case of farmers, but to dairymen within the meaning of the Bill—that is to say, every milk seller in London, and every wholesale man in any of our big towns could require the local authority to give facilities to have his milk examined, at whatever intervals he might himself choose, at a nominal charge. It is very desirable that farmers and others should be encouraged to have examinations made of their milk, but I am not sure that it is right to require the local authorities to provide facilities, at the cost of the rates, for the milk trade of England to have bacteriological examinations made whenever they wish. I am sure that the local authorities, especially in rural districts, would give facilities to farmers where possible, and would have these considerations well in mind. But I seem to have a recollection of having heard protests in this House more than once against Bills being passed which cast onerous duties on local authorities that have to be paid for not at the expense of the taxes, but at the expense of the local rates, and I seem to recollect hearing the hon. Member who moved this Amendment occasionally in this House, and on deputations, giving expression to those sentiments. I hope that the House on this occasion will not require local authorities to assume this new and heavy burden. I feel sure that they will voluntarily give such facilities as the case requires.

I am very glad to hear what the right hon. Gentleman has said. With all respect to the hon. Member, I think that the facilities given by the county council in most counties of England are sufficient. For that reason I hope that the hon. Member will not press the Amendment to a Division.

I would appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider the matter. On the question of expense I am hoping that he will accept an Amendment which I have further down on the Paper that three-fourths of the expense should come from the Treasury. The provision of pure milk for the people is of national importance, and if this Amendment would conduce to that result, the Treasury ought to bear the cost.

I quite see the point of what the right hon. Gentleman says. The expense might be very heavy if every dairyman in every city were entitled to have a free bacteriological examination. What you want to ensure is that the milk shall be pure at its source, and the real object of the Amendment would be ensured if this were done. I hope therefore that the right hon. Gentleman will consider the Amendment and accept it so far as it relates to farmers who are the source from which the milk is obtained.

I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether without this it would be legal for a local authority if it chose to allow these facilities to farmers, leaving it of course, optional to them, the arrangement about the charge being made by themselves? I see a great objection to placing the burden on them if they do not. want to undertake it, of doing the work at a nominal charge. But it would be an obvious advantage if farmers were interested, and if they are so interested that they would wish themselves to have their milk tested in this way, and the local authority is willing to do the work, and the farmers are willing to pay a fixed price, then unless there is some provision which enables the local authority to do this, a power of this kind might be useful.

On a point of Order. This Amendment if carried would impose a charge on the rates. Is it in Order on the Report stage?

There are public analysts and so on to whom farmers have access if they care to avail themselves of it, at very reasonable charges, and in some cases for no charge at all. The amendment moved by my hon. Friend is the first instance of any farmer asking for this. If there was a demand by the agricultural bodies generally, I think that I should have heard of it. I do not think that there is any demand for the Amendment at all.

I have had very pressing demands. My hon. Friend as a member of the Central Chamber of Agriculture has great experience, but his experience is not of this type of farming. However, in view of the discussion which has taken place, I will withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 8—(Regulations As To Imported Milk)

The Local Government Board shall make regulations under the Public Health (Regulations as to Food) Act, 1907, for the prevention of danger arising to public health from the importation of milk and milk products intended for sale, for human consumption, or for use in the manufacture of products for human consumption.

had given notice of an Amendment, after the word "importation" to insert the words "into Great Britain."

May I point out that the whole object of this Amendment is to prevent milk or milk products being imported from Ireland. I suggest that it would be in order, as intended by this Clause, to check any milk products being imported from outside the United Kingdom, as it stands at present, which may result in disease to human beings, or unfair competition with the home producer.

The hon. Member's Amendment says "Great Britain." This Bill does not apply to Scotland, and the powers of the Local Government Board do not apply to Scotland.

May I be allowed, if it is not strictly in order, to move it in the form of "England and Wales"? It comes to exactly the same thing so far as I am concerned. The only difficulty is that you cannot impose restrictions very easily on the border between England and Scotland. I am quite prepared to move it in this form.

This Bill does not apply to Scotland. Therefore the importation must be an importation into England and Wales.

I beg to move to add, at the end of the Clause, the words "and this shall apply to milk imported from Ireland unless similar regulations to those contained in this Act are also made and enforced in Ireland."

6.0 P.M.

The object of this Amendment is to secure in England and Wales that the farmers, as far as possible, may have the same chances as those in Ireland. As I understand the Clause, the milk may be imported from Ireland, and it need not necessarily be under the same regulations in Ireland as in this country. But, unless there are the same regulations in Ireland as there are in this country, the milk from Ireland ought to be subject to the same examination as the milk coming from other countries. If Ireland has Home Rule and makes her own regulations, the right hon. Gentleman will not, I think, have any power to make the same regulations for Ireland as for England and Wales. If that be so, the Irish farmer would have a considerable advantage over the farmers of England and Wales, because he would not be subject to any of the restrictions contained in this Bill.

I think that this Amendment is already covered by what is in the Bill. Still, I will allow it, with that explanation.

I think the word "importation" implies importation from foreign countries, and that consequently the Clause as drafted will not apply to imported goods that come from any part of the United Kingdom. The hon. Member is making a proposal setting up a separate system as between England and Ireland, a thing very much objected to on the other side in another connection. All goods which come into England and Wales from Ireland are examined at the port of entry in the same way as we propose that milk from Normandy or abroad is to be examined.

I am sorry to hear this disruptive tendency from that quarter. Milk from Ireland will be subject to the Regulations here. Ireland has already her own code of laws dealing with the purity of the milk supply, and always has had her own code of laws, and they will remain. As a matter of fact, under the provisions of the Bill, the Regulations made under Clause 2, milk sold in this country would be sampled from time to time, with a view to detecting diseased or dirty milk, and they would apply as much to milk from Ireland as to milk which reached us from Kent, Northumberland, or any county in this country. The milk which is consumed in this country will be subjected to the Regulations that apply in this country, and I do not think that the hon. Member's Amendment is really at all needed, while it contains the rather bad principle of discriminating between goods from Ireland and goods from England and Wales.

The question I want to put to the President of the Local Government Board is this: He says that milk which comes from Ireland or from Kent, Northumberland, and other parts of the United Kingdom, is going to be treated equally, and is to be subjected to the same Regulations. But in the case of milk sold in England which is produced in Kent or Northumberland, you are able to get a producer. How are you going to get at the Irish producer? The jurisdiction of the right hon. Gentleman does not extend to Ireland.

Suppose there should be sold in this country some milk that is inferior you might take proceedings, if the seller is able to show that the impurity in the milk arose in Ireland. But how are you going to get at the Irish producer? That is the point I want to put to the right hon. Gentleman, and I should be very glad of an answer.

There are two objects which this Bill seeks to fulfil. One is to prevent the English and Welsh consumer from being poisoned or injured by diseased or dirty milk; and the other, which is particularly provided for in this Clause, is to prevent the British milk producer from being damnified by unfair competition with the dirty or diseased products of other countries. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that it has a disruptive tendency to move such Amendments as this. It has not a disruptive tendency. If there be a disruptive tendency at all it really lies in our having three separate Local Government Boards set up in the three different parts of the United Kingdom, and not only three separate Departments, but we shall have now three different Acts relating to the milk supply of the three different countries. It depends entirely upon the relative drastic character of the legislation and the relative drastic administration of the three countries as to whether one of the countries will suffer injustice in the competition between the milk supplied by the three. If it is unfair that the English consumer should be poisoned with Dutch milk or Dutch cheese, so it is equally unfair that the English consumer should be poisoned with Irish milk or Irish cheese. If it be unfair that the English producer should be damnified in competition with impure products from Denmark or from Holland, surely it is equally unfair that he should be damnified by competition with impure products from Ireland! They are under totally different Acts of Parliament, and under totally different local administration. As my hon. Friend pointed out, the time is coining, though we hope not, when Ireland will be entirely under its own legislative control, and nothing that we can say in this House will affect the administration of the. particular Department in Ireland which has to deal with these matters. Surely it is only fair, both in the interests of the consumer and the British milk producer, that we should make this law which prevents the importation of impure milk from abroad apply equally to Ireland as to any other country across the sea!

I cannot understand the Amendment being put on the ground which the last speaker stated, unless he contemplates that the Irish Legislature shall deal with the whole of Ireland without any reservation as regards the North-East corner. The Amendment clearly shows a bias against Ireland. Why is not Scotland mentioned or the Channel Islands, and why is Ireland picked out alone? The hon. Gentleman who has just spoken said there would probably be a Legislature in Dublin. What is the meaning of that? If we are to have a Home Rule Debate to-day, I could understand it; otherwise I cannot see why Ireland should be singled out and no other country in Europe.

When I first saw the Amendment I did not think there was very much in it, because I was of opinion that the Regulations for dealing with imported milk and imported milk products brought into the country to which this Bill applies, namely, England and Wales, from wherever they came, would be subject to those Regulations. But the right hon. Gentleman has put an entirely different complexion upon it, and I think he has made a convincing speech in favour of the principle of the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend beside me, because he told us that the word "importation," in his opinion, implies importation from foreign countries. We have to look at the effect of this Bill from the point of view of the consumer of milk and milk products. It has been thought necessary to make special Regulations dealing with milk and milk products brought to this country, and surely those necessary Regulations apply to all parts of the world. I think the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth) is right, that the Amendment should apply to more than Ireland. He knows as well as I do that it is not intended that the wording of the Amendment should be directed to Ireland alone. Though, I think, it might be necessary to put it in a different form, yet I think the principle is good, unless the right hon. Gentleman can see fit to assure us that the word "importation" shall have only its ordinary and common-sense meaning, and shall not apply merely to milk from foreign countries.

If the milk sent from Ireland into this country is impure, is it the wholesale dealer in Ireland who can be punished?

Cannot proceedings be taken against the wholesale dealer who has sent the milk from Ireland to this country? The object of the Bill is a very laudable one, namely, to secure a supply of pure milk, and surely there should be some means by which to prevent impure milk being sent over!

Samples of the milk are taken in this country on its way from the person in Ireland to the retailer in this country, and if the milk be found impure the Irish sender could be prosecuted, if he is the person who sent the impure milk to this country.

How are you going to prosecute him? If Home Rule is established, how are you going to bring him into the jurisdiction?

In reply to the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Booth), I would point out that for Scotland there is a Milk and Dairies Bill which is intended to fulfil the same end as this Bill, namely, that milk should be clean and pure. There is nothing of the kind in Ireland. English dairymen are called on to make special efforts and special outlay to see that cattle sheds and everything connected with the production of milk are kept in good order. If Ireland is excluded, no such conditions will apply to the Irish dairies. Ireland sends large quantities of milk and milk products to this country, and there is danger of those being impure and no means of getting at the producer in order to correct that state of things. That is a special protection to the Irish producer of milk as against the English, and when English producers are prepared to take the necessary steps to ensure pure milk, we say that the Irishmen ought to be put on the same level.

We ought to do one of two things. We ought to make this apply to England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, or put Irish products under the same Regulations as products from abroad. I understand that the provisions of the Bill for Scotland are practically the same as those of this Bill.

I do not know that much milk comes from them, but we do know that a very large quantity of milk and milk products comes from Ireland, and therefore Ireland ought to be brought under this Bill, or under the Regulations applied to milk from abroad. I would like to know what kind of Regulations the right hon. Gentleman proposes with regard to milk from abroad, and I think those Regulations ought to apply to Ireland.

I desire to support this Amendment if it is really necessary, but it does appear to me that the right hon. Gentleman's interpretation of the Clause is open to some doubt. We find in Clause 18 it is distinctly stated that this Act shall not apply to Scotland or to Ireland, and consequently I should have thought that any milk coming from countries outside the scope of the Act would be milk imported, and consequently subjected to Clause 8. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say that he has some other idea in his mind, but this Bill will be strictly interpreted, and a proper legal definition will, of course, be given to the word "imported" apart from anything he may say. I would remind him that we have had a great deal of discussion with regard to the Importation of Arms Proclamation in Ireland. There the interpretation which the right hon. Gentleman puts is not in the least degree accepted, as to arms imported from Great Britain to Ireland, and not from a foreign country. It seems to me that his interpretation is not correct, or that, at any rate, it is entirely exceptional. If that is so, this Amendment is not necessary. If the right hon. Gentleman is correct, that certainly urges me very strongly to support the hon. Member who moved this Amendment. I think it is most desirable that Irish milk should be under the same supervision and care as milk produced in this country. Otherwise it is giving a very unfair advantage to the Irish producer, to the disadvantage of the English producer. In view of all the changes which are supposed to be going to take place with regard to the Government of Ireland, I think it is very essential that we should take this very necessary precaution, if the right hon. Gentleman's interpretation of the Clause is correct, though I doubt it, and under those circumstances I shall certainly support the Amendment.

By leave of the House, may I say as to the points raised I am advised that importation, certainly under the Customs Act, means importation from a foreign country. That is the interpretation usually applied to it. It may be a point of doubt, and a nice legal point, whether in this Act it would bear the same interpretation. If it does not bear the interpretation put upon it by the hon. Member, well and good, then this Amendment is obviously unnecessary, and I am sure hon. Members need not press it if they hold that view. The hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Mr. Forster) says how can we get at the Irish producer. He must be dealt with by the Irish law as the Scottish producer is dealt with by the Scottish law. The hon. Member for Mansfield (Sir A. Markham) asked if under Home Rule we should be able to summon a person from Ireland to answer a charge of selling contaminated milk or infected milk in this country. I am advised we can, and that Home Rule makes no difference at all, and that the summons would be by the same procedure as is now available. Hon. Members opposite have asked as to the character of the regulations with regard to foreign imports with respect to milk requiring certificates. There is one Government which sends us milk, that is France, requiring certain certificates with regard to inspection and the condition of the dairies from which the milk comes, and only about £2,000 worth comes from there. In Ireland there is already a very elaborate code of laws dealing with milk, and now that the Irish milk trade is highly organised through co-operative creameries, there really seems to be very little necessity for a specific provision of this kind. As a matter of fact, the whole of this Clause is really quite unnecessary. It was only put in to meet the. pressure of hon. Members opposite. We have got powers now, the amplest powers, under other Acts to make regulations with regard to food products which are imported into this country or come from Ireland or Scotland, or the Isle of Man, or the Channel Islands. This is merely put in in order to meet certain representations that were made to us, and it really seems quite unnecessary in the United Kingdom to require provisions such as the hon. Member suggests.

The right hon. Gentleman tells us that this is a point of doubtful legal interpretation as to whether this Clause does or does not extend to the bringing of milk into this country from Ireland. If it is doubtful, it is not fair that the House, knowing it to be so, should intentionally leave it for the Courts to say hereafter what they intended. When the Minister in charge of the Bill says he does not know, and that the meaning of the Clause is doubtful, how can the Court possibly say what the Legislature intended if the Legislature itself sends the Bill out to the world knowing that it is an uncertain point.

This will not be a matter for the Courts at all; this is a Clause which imposes an obligation on the Local Government Board and the Local Government Board does not propose to make any Regulations with regard to Ireland.

The right hon. Gentleman can only speak for the Board so long as he is President. A question may arise as to whether the Local Government Board has exceeded its jurisdiction. I do submit, if it is a doubtful point, it ought to be cleared up. Some Members are in favour of extending it to Ireland, and others are opposed, but whichever view we take the matter ought to be made clear.

I will consider whether any drafting Amendment is needed before the Bill goes to another place.

The right hon. Gentleman has really now put himself in a position in which he should tell the House clearly what will be done, because if I understood him rightly it is not a question of what the Courts will decide, but of what the Local Government Board will do. Surely the House has the right to ask him to tell us what the Local Government Board are going to do, and what interpretation they are going to put upon the word "imported."

May I ask whether in his view, assuming that Ireland is out of the Section, the Local Government Board is entitled to differentiate as between different countries which send milk and milk products into this country, or whether it is intended that these Regulations should apply to all milk imported, because there is a suggestion of differentiation in the case of Ireland which suggests possible differentiation in other cases.

That is a point I will consider in connection with the other point raised by the hon. Member for West St. Pancras.

Even now we are not quite clear as to this matter. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that he will consider the Clause as it stands and the power as to making Regulations. He says the Clause is not necessary, but what is he going to do? Is he going to make those Regulations extend to Ireland or not?

Our point is, if you are going to have certain regulations to protect the supply of milk, those regulations should protect the supply all round. Scotland is to have those regulations. The hon. Member opposite complains that the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not included, and also mentions Scotland, but Scotland has a Bill of its own.

It has no regulations corresponding with these. They are much less searching in character. If the hon.

Division No. 208.]

AYES.

6.32 p.m.

Agg-Gardner, James TynteGilmour, Captain JohnPryce-Jones, Colonel E.
Anstruther-Gray, Major WilliamGlazebrook, Captain Philip K.Ratcliff, R. F.
Baird, John LawrenceGoldman, C. S.Ronaldshay, Earl of
Banbury, Sir Frederick GeorgeGrant, J. A.Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)
Barnston, HarryGretton, JohnSalter, Arthur Clavell
Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)
Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh HicksGwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)
Beckett, Hon. GervaseHamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)Sanders, Robert Arthur
Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)Harris, Leverton (Worcester, East)Sanderson, Lancelot
Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish-Havelock-Allan, Sir HenrySandys, G. J.
Bigland, AlfredHelmsley, ViscountSpear, Sir John Ward
Bird, AlfredHerbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)Stanley, Major Hon. G. F. (Preston)
Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. GriffithHewins, William Albert SamuelStrauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)
Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.Talbot, Lord Edmund
Bridgeman, William CliveHills, John WallerTerrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)
Bull, Sir William JamesHope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)Tickler, T. G.
Burn, Colonel C. R.Houston, Robert PatersonTouche, George Alexander
Butcher, John GeorgeHume-Williams, William EllisTryon, Captain George Clement
Carlile, Sir Edward HildredJessel, Captain H. M.Valentia, Viscount
Cassel, FelixKyffin-Taylor, G.Watson, Hon. W.
Cautley, H. S.Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)Weigall, Captain A. G.
Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)Weston, Colonel J. W.
Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lieut-Colonel A. R.Wheler, Granville C. H.
Clay, Captain H. H. SpenderLyttelton, Hon. J. C.White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)
Coates, Major Sir Edward FeethamM'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E. R.)
Courthope, George LoydMildmay, Francis BinghamWilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)
Currie, George W.Neville, Reginald J. N.Wolmer, Viscount
Duke, Henry EdwardNewdegate, F. A.Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)
Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.Newman, John R. P.Worthington Evans, L.
Falle, Bertram GodfrayNield, HerbertYate, Colonel Charles Edward
Fell, ArthurOrde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.Younger, Sir George
Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir RobertPease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)
Flannery, Sir J. FortescuePerkins, Walter F.

TELLERS FOR THE AYES— Mr.

Fletcher, John SamuelPretyman, Ernest GeorgeHunt and Mr. Stanier.
Forster, Henry WilliamProthero, Rowland Edmund

NOES.

Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)Arnold, SydneyBarran, Sir John N. (Hawick Burghs)
Acland, Francis DykeBaker, Harold T. (Accrington)Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)
Addison, Dr. ChristopherBaker, Joseph Allen (Flnsbury, E.)Beale, Sir William Phipson
Agnew, Sir George WilliamBalfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)Beauchamp, Sir Edward
Alden, PercyBarlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)Bentham, George Jackson
Armitage, RobertBarnes, George N.Bethell, Sir J. H.

Member for Pontefract wants this to apply-to the Channel Islands and to the Isle of Man, as well as to foreign countries, let him move to that effect, and the details can easily be amended. What we want to get from the right hon. Gentleman is an assurance that he will take care that all milk brought into this country, including milk brought in from Ireland, is in a pure condition. That is our position. That is our point, but apparently the right hon. Gentleman is not going to meet it. In these circumstances our only course is to divide on the Amendment, and test the opinion of the House as to whether the people of this country are to be liable to have improperly supervised milk which may be sent from Ireland. I cannot understand why the right hon. Gentleman does not accept the Amendment, unless he has some motive which he has not explained to the House.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 101; Noes, 25–2.

Birrell, Rt. Hon. AugustineHinds, JohnO'Shaughnessy, P. J.
Boland, John PiusHobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.O'Shee, James John
Booth, Frederick HandelHodge, JohnOuthwaite, R. L.
Bowerman, Charles W.Hogge, James MylesPalmer, Godfrey Mark
Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)Horner, Andrew LongParker, James (Halifax)
Brady, Patrick JosephHudson, WalterPearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Brunner, John F. L.Hughes, Spencer LeighPhillips, John (Longford, S.)
Bryce, J. AnnanJohn, Edward ThomasPollard, Sir George H.
Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O.Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Sw'nsea)Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Burns, Rt. Hon. JohnJones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)Pratt, J. W.
Burt, Rt. Hon. ThomasJones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)
Byles, Sir William PollardJones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)Pringle, William M. R.
Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)Radford, G. H.
Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs, Heywood)Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)Raffan, Peter Wilson
Chancellor, Henry GeorgeJowett, Frederick WilliamRea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)
Chapple, Dr. William AllenJoyce, MichaelRea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Clancy, John JosephKeating, MatthewReddy, Michael
Clough, WilliamKelly, EdwardRedmond, John E. (Waterford)
Clynes, John R.Kennedy, Vincent PaulRedmond, William (Clare, E.)
Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)Kilbride, DenisRedmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)
Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.King, JosephRichardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Cowan, W. H.Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)Lardner, James C. R.Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Crooks, WilliamLaw, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)
Crumley, PatrickLawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)Robinson, Sidney
Culinan, JohnLeach, CharlesRoch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)Levy, Sir MauriceRoe, Sir Thomas
Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)Lewis, Rt. Hon. John HerbertRowlands, James
Davies, Timothy (Lincs, Louth)Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)Rowntree, Arnold
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)Lundon, ThomasRussell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.
Dawes, James ArthurLyell, Charles HenrySamuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)
Delany, WilliamLynch, Arthur AlfredSamuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)
Denman, Hon. Richard DouglasMacdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)
Devlin, JosephMacdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)Sheehy, David
Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.Sherwell, Arthur James
Dillon, JohnMacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)Shortt, Edward
Donelan, Captain A.MacVeagh, JeremiahSimon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook
Doris, WilliamM'Callum, Sir John M.Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)
Duffy, William J.McKenna, Rt. Hon. ReginaldSmyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)M'Micking. Major GilbertSpicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert
Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)Markham, Sir Arthur BasllStrauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)
Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)Marks, Sir George CroydonSutherland, John E.
Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)Marshall, Arthur HaroldSutton, John E.
Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)Mason, David M. (Coventry)Taylor, Theodore C. (Radclitfe)
Elverston, Sir HaroldMeagher, MichaelTaylor, Thomas (Bolton)
Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)Tennant, Rt. Hon. Harold John
Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)
Essex, Sir Richard WalterMillar, James DuncanThorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)
Falconer, JamesMolloy, MichaelThorne, William (West Ham)
Farrell, James PatrickMolteno, Percy AlportToulmin, Sir George
Fenwick, Rt. Hon. CharlesMond, Rt. Hon. Sir AlfredTrevelyan, Charles Philips
Fetherstonhaugh, GodtreyMontagu, Hon. E. S.Verney, Sir Harry
Ftrench, PeterMooney, John J.Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., lnce)
Fitzgibbon, JohnMorgan, George HayWard, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)
Fiavin, Michael JosephMorrell, PhilipWaring, Walter
Furness, Sir Stephen WilsonMorison, HectorWebb, H.
George, Rt. Hon. D. LloydMorton, Alpheus CleophasWhite, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)
Gladstone, W. G. C.Muldoon, JohnWhite, Patrick (Meath, North)
Glanville, Harold JamesMunro, Rt. Hon. RobertWhittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.
Greig, Colonel J. W.Murphy, Martin J.Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)
Griffith, Rt. Hon. Ellis JonesMurray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.Wiles, Thomas
Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)Needham, Christopher T.Wilkie, Alexander
Hackett, JohnNeilson, FrancisWilliams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)
Hall, Frederick (Yorks, Normanton)Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)Williams, John (Glamorgan)
Hancock, John GeorgeNolan, JosephWilliams, Penry (Middlesbrough)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)Norton, Captain Cecil W.Williamson, Sir Archibald
Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)Nugent, Sir Walter RichardWilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Hardie, J. KeirNuttall, HarryWilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)
Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)Wing, Thomas Edward
Hayden, John PatrickO'Connor, T. p. (Liverpool)Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)
Hayward, EvanO'Doherty, PhilipYeo, Alfred William
Hazleton, RichardO'Dowd, JohnYoung, William (Perthshire, East)
Henderson, Arthur (Durham)O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Henderson, John M. (Aberdeen, W.)O'Malley, William
Henry, Sir CharlesO'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)

TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.

Higham, John SharpO'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)Gulland and Mr. Wedgwood Bonn.

Clause 9—(Establishment Of Milk Depots)

(1) The sanitary authority of any district may, with the approval of the Local Government Board, establish and thereafter maintain depots for the sale of milk specially prepared for consumption by infants under two years of age, and purchase and prepare milk and provide such laboratories, plant, and other things, and exercise and perform such other powers and duties, as may be necessary for the purposes of this Section.

(2) The Local Government Board may attach such conditions to their approval as they may deem necessary.

(who was indistinctly heard): I beg to move to leave out the Clause.

This is the most contentious Clause in the Bill. It introduces the thin edge of the wedge of municipal trading, and I should like to know why the Clause has been produced at all. We know that municipal trading is supported by many hon. Members on the other side, but we on this side decidedly object to it. We do not know where, if once commenced, it is going to stop. In a subsequent Bill you may allow borough councils to open butchers' or bakers' shops, or to do other things which may be to the detriment of the ratepayers. Those ratepayers have heavy rates to pay on their own businesses, and it is suggested that their rates should be used to produce competition against their business. It is most unfair that the dairymen and farmers, who pay heavy rates, should have those rates used to encourage competition in their trade, and possibly to ruin their business. I trust the House will reject the Clause and not allow municipal trading either in lymph or any other commodity. There have already been several lymph depots, and not one has paid its way. Some of them charged a fairly good price for the lymph, but they have all left a charge on the ratepayer. There were depots at Dundee, Woolwich, Finsbury, and Glasgow, but they have all shut up. There are depots still open at Battersea, Liverpool, and Leicester. Why did the Woolwich depot shut up? It cost about £500, and the whole of the fittings were sold in a practically new condition for £25. That is what the Member for Woolwich encourages, and hopes will be established all over the country. At Glasgow the depot was fitted up at a cost of £2,000, and was eventually sold for a trifling sum. There are, as I have said, only three of the depots that were established left.

With such an experience before us, surely it is folly to encourage borough councils, or even to give them permission, to open these depots in order to compete with ratepayers who are milk sellers, and to make losses for the general body of ratepayers! But even the consumer suffers. I have the report of the medical officer for Glasgow, who says that "by far the worst results were in the case of those fed on municipal milk." That is the official result of the Glasgow depot. It may be urged that this Clause is in order to benefit the poor. I think the original idea was that these depots for milk should be able to give free milk to the poorest portion of the community. That is hardly necessary now, because under the Insurance Act the doctors are allowed to order milk free, and it is most extensively done. There are certain milk depots which deliver milk free on the order of the doctor under the Insurance Act, I know from experience, and from the observations of myself and a good many other people who take an interest in these matters, that the people who benefit are really not the poor, but those people who can well afford to buy their own milk, and who like to get something for nothing. They consider that here is an opportunity for them to get it. The poorest people really do not benefit. I therefore object altogether to the Clause. It is unfair to the ratepayers by reason of the competition and by reason of the expense, and it is unfair to the consumers.

I beg to second the Amendment. I feel that the distribution of milk must be subject to the price which has been fixed by free competition. I do think it would be unjust that municipal authorities should be able to trade in milk and thereby and unfairly interfere with the legitimate duty of the milk producer. The hon. Gentleman who moved the omission of the Clause said that it was supposed to be in the interests of the poor. I venture to say that it will have exactly the opposite effect. I know that the production of milk at the present price scarcely pays the producer. If competition by local authorities is set up against them in disposing of this article I am very much afraid it will mean a great curtailment of production. In that case the price will rise, and poorer persons will suffer most in the diminished volume of milk for general use. I believe that this Bill will protect the quality of milk produced. Therefore no one can have any lack of confidence in purchasing milk under this Bill, for they will know that it is as clean and pure as milk can possibly be. There can be no reason for the setting up of these laboratories, for the general body of milk will be pure, and such as can be used without danger by the community, whether they be adults or infants. To meet the requirements and regulations of this Bill will undoubtedly need considerable experience, and occasion some anxiety on the part of the milk producer. Those concerned have done their best to secure pure milk, but as it is found desirable that there should be increased restrictions and requirements the milk producers are willing to submit to them, but they feel that they ought to have free competition, and they do not think that municipal authorities ought to trade in opposition to them.

Objection has been taken to this Clause because, it is said, it will allow the introduction of the thin end of the wedge. That thin end of the wedge has already been introduced. There are a certain number of milk depots at present in operation, though only one has been set up during the last eight years. Previously there were several established. Some of those have been closed. Those that now remain are rather more numerous than the hon. Member stated. There is one at St. Helens which was established in 1899, one at Liverpool; Battersea, Ashton-under-Lyne, Blackburn, Burnley, Lambeth, Leicester, and Sheffield. Except in respect of one or two established under local Acts, the legal position of these milk depots is at present uncertain. The expenses in some cases have been allowed by the Local Government Board under the Local Authorities (Allowance of Expenses) Act, which is a temporary permission given under exceptional circumstances, because of legislation which was before Parliament. It was anticipated that a Clause might be passed into law. Meantime, the Local Government Board used their powers to permit the financing of these establishments. If this Clause is struck out the effect will probably be—I do not say certainly—that several of the existing establishments already carrying on their work would have straightway to be closed. It is not the case cither that all these milk depots make losses or sell their products at the expense of the ratepayers. At Leicester and Sheffield, which provide a supply of milk. It is sold, so I am advised, without any loss to the ratepayer. The effect of these institutions is excellent on the health of the infants. At Liverpool, for example, where there is a milk depot of the Corporation conducted on a somewhat large scale, it has been found that the infants, although they are usually of a poorer physical health than the average, and for that reason have to go to the milk depot, have a much lower death rate than the towns as a whole. The town of Liverpool has a general infantile death-rate of 144 per 1,000; the infants fed at the milk depots have a death-rate of 93 per 1,000, about one-third less. The matter was discussed in Committee at some length; the Committee divided upon the subject, and decided to retain this Clause by 22 votes to 7. I trust that on a general review of the circumstances the House will permit this Clause to remain.

The House knows that I have a very strong objection to municipal trading. I will not go into that at the present moment, but I myself think it is unfair to the ordinary trader, and that it is disadvantageous to the public. However that may be, it is evident from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman that we should not be able to carry the omission of this Clause if we went to a Division. Under those circumstances I would ask the right hon. Gentleman if we do not divide, whether he would be inclined to accept an Amendment which would provide shortly and simply that milk should not be sold at less than cost price at these depots? I do not mean to say that that is my view of the case. I strongly object to municipal trading, as I have said, but it is evident that we cannot carry our point. Therefore I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would accept such an Amendment as I have suggested.

I am inclined to think that that is not an unreasonable compromise. There is a strong feeling in the House against this Clause, and although the hon. Member does not command large battalions here at the moment, I am afraid he will have some in reserve over the way, and that perhaps will lead me to accept the suggested compromise.

I understood the hon. Member who moved this Amendment to say that Municipal depots were not necessary now because under the Insurance Act doctors are able to prescribe large quantities of milk. This Clause, as I understand it, is restricted to infants under two years of age, and it is news to me that insured persons are of that age. Therefore, it seems to me that that argument falls to the ground. May I also point out to the hon. Member that a committee which orders milk for insured persons orders it as an auxiliary; and may I further add that the consumption mentioned in this Clause is not tuberculosis, but another kind of consumption.

It appears to me in the first place that the Clause has nothing to do with the main idea of the Bill which is to get a pure supply of milk. I opposed the Clause in Committee, and I shall certainly do so now. I dislike municipal trading, and I dislike it the more becouse as originally introduced by this Clause, I thought it was exceedingly unfair to the farmer. The farmer might not only be undersold, but in a town might actually be paving rates so that he might be undersold in the business! I admit that the Amendment which I understand the right hon. Gentleman is going to accept takes away my last and chief reason. Therefore, personally, I shall not offer any opposition.

The right hon. Gentleman has informed us of the action of the Local Government Board in relation to municipal authorities who have established depots. Some of these have done so by virtue of powers under special Acts of Parliament. But for the Local Government Board to act as they have done, because they believed that in the future some Bill would pass, appears to me to be going entirely outside their duty. It seems to me that they have anticipated an Act of Parliament being passed—

I am afraid I did not make myself quite clear. Local authorities have, in fact, established these depots. They did not ask our permission. The question came up when the auditor came to deal with their accounts. It was found in some cases the power to establish these was doubtful, and under the powers specifically conferred upon the Local Government Board to meet such cases by the Local Authorities (Allowance of Expenses) Act, we allowed them to continue. We did not disallow the charges, because the matter was before Parliament.

7.0 P.M.

I should have thought in these circumstances the charge ought not to have been allowed, and it seems to me that the Local Government Board were rather slack. Whatever may be the actual merits of this Clause, I think it will be agreed that in its present form it by no means prevents the local authority or corporation incurring such expenses again, and there is also no limit put upon the money that it to be spent, and thirdly, as far as I can read it, there is nothing to prevent the corporation starting dairy farming itself. I think if that is the intention of the Local Government Board the House could hardly agree to it. It may be desirable for municipalities to secure an entirely pure milk supply and to sell specially treated milk, but I hardly think the House would be prepared to give sanction to a corporation to start dairy farming which would compete with the local farmers. I hope if this Clause is finally passed, the right hon. Gentleman will see whether some limit of that kind is not inserted to prevent them starting a dairy farm, and also to put restrictions upon the money that may be spent in the first instance upon procuring plant.

I find myself in disagreement with my hon. Friends who have spoken on this side. I disapprove as much as anybody—generally speaking—of municipal trading, and I admit this Clause does seem to me to go outside the general purposes of the Bill. At the same time, I think there is a good deal to be said for exceptional treatment in regard to the provision of milk for infants under two years of age. I think it would be a great, pity if this Clause was struck out of the Bill, because I know that the shortage of milk for infants of this age does produce a very unfortunate effect upon the children of the poorer classes. I do not think it would in any way affect the position of the producers of the milk. If I thought so, I certainly would support the Amendment to strike out this Clause, but I do not think so, and I think it will have a very valuable result amongst the poorer classes, and that the expenditure involved would be very good from the economic point of view, and I am glad that an arrangement has been arrived at by which this Clause should remain part of the Bill.

The promise of the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend behind me has removed a portion of the objections which I entertained to this Clause.

Before we pass from this question I should like to make sure what is meant by the concession to be introduced limiting the sale of milk by the restriction as to cost price. I hope there will not be read into the words "cost price," the price also of the necessary plant for distribution of sterilised milk. When I have seen sterilised milk passing through the streets of Batter-sea, I felt what a splendid investment it is for the health of the people. Whether it be competition with retailing or competition with farming, it is useless to belittle the magnificent work which has been done and which has saved thousands of young lives and which I should be very glad to see spreading in crowded districts.

I do not know whether we all agree with people who talk about the advantages of sterilised milk. I thought the latest view was that it was rather injurious.

It is different when the hon. Member says "treated milk." I think the Clause is open to the construction that corporations might run dairy farms. Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake, when considering the Amendment to be put in, that the Clause should be no longer open to that construction. I do not think it would be at all satisfactory if corporations, instead of buying their milk in the ordinary way from private producers, were themselves able to enter upon dairy farming.

I do not think it is possible that the word "depots" for the sale of milk could be held to bear that meaning. No local authority has yet attempted dairy farming.

I think the words "and other things" in the Clause might be open to that construction.

If I thought there was the least danger of any kind of farming being started by the local bodies, I should be the first to offer opposition to this Clause, but I am bound to say that reading the Clause as a whole, such fears are not founded on facts. I think it appears clear that under this Clause milk would have to be purchased from the farmers, and therefore I do not think that municipal trading is in danger of being introduced in that way. I hope that as the right hon. Gentleman has offered protection that milk should not be sold under cost price, the hon. Member may accept that and withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I beg to move, after the word "sale" ["maintain depots for the sale of milk"], to insert the words "at not less than cost price."

I should like to know what is the meaning of "cost price." Does it mean the net cost of the milk, and not the cost inclusive of the cost of the whole paraphernalia introduced for treating it?

Question, "That those words be inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Clause 12—(Supplemental Provisions)

Amendment made: In Sub-section (2), leave out the word "or" [" of any milk or dairies"], and insert instead thereof the word "and."—[ Mr. Herbert Samuel.]

Clause 13—(Compensation To Existing Officers Or Servants)

If in consequence of the passing of this Act or of anything done in pursuance or in consequence thereof any officer or servant of any locality who held office at the passing of this Act suffers any direct pecuniary loss by abolition of office, or by' diminution or loss of fees or salary, he shall be entitled to have compensation paid to him for such pecuniary loss by the local authority, and such compensation shall be determined pursuant to the provisions of Section one hundred and twenty of the Local Government Act, 1888.

Amendments made: Leave out the words "pursuant to the provisions of" ["shall be determined pursuant to the provisions of"], and insert instead thereof the words "in accordance with and subject to the conditions prescribed by."

At end of the Clause insert the words "and that Section, with the necessary adaptations, shall apply accordingly."—[ Mr. Dawes.]

Clause 15—(Provisions As To Offences)

(1) If any person commits an offence against this Act, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding in the case of a first offence five pounds and in the case of a second or subsequent offence fifty pounds, and if the offence is a continuing offence to a further fine not exceeding forty shillings for each day during which the offence continues.

(2) Proceedings against a dairyman for failure to comply with an Order made under the Second Schedule to this Act requiring the dairyman not to supply milk from a dairy may be taken before a Court of Summary Jurisdiction either in the place where the offence was committed or in the place where the dairy is situated, and shall be taken only by the authority by which the Order was made.

(3) Where the occupier of a dairy is charged with an offence against this Act, he shall be entitled upon information duly laid by him to have any other person whom he charges as the actual offender brought before the Court at the time appointed for hearing the charge; and, if after the commission of the offence has been proved, the occupier of the dairy-proves to the satisfaction of the Court—

  • (a) that he has used due diligence to enforce the execution of this Act and the Milk and Dairies Orders; and
  • (b) that the said other person had committed the offence in question without his knowledge, consent, or connivance;
  • that other person shall be summarily convicted of the offence, and the occupier shall be exempt from any fine, and the person so convicted shall, in the discretion of the Court, be also liable to pay any costs incidental to the proceedings.

    (4) When it is made to appear to the satisfaction of the authority by or on whose behalf proceedings are about to be taken—

  • (a) that the actual occupier of the dairy has used all due diligence to enforce the execution of this Act and the Milk and Dairies Orders; and
  • (b) by what person the offence has been committed; and
  • (c) that it has been committed without the knowledge, consent, or connivance of the occupier of the dairy and in contravention of his orders;
  • proceedings shall be taken against the person who is believed to be the actual offender without first proceeding against the occupier of the dairy.

    (5) The duty of taking proceedings for enforcing the provisions of Section 1 of this Act shall rest on the county council or county borough council, without prejudice, however, to the power of a sanitary authority in a county to take such proceedings, and the duty of taking proceedings for enforcing the provisions of any Milk and Dairies Order shall rest on the local authority prescribed in the Order, and the clerk of the local authority or other officer whom the local authority may appoint, shall have power, if so authorised by the local authority, to institute and carry on such proceedings.

    (6) Notwithstanding anything contained in any Act to the contrary all fines imposed in any proceedings instituted by or on behalf of the local authority in the exercise of their powers and duties under this Act shall be paid to the authority and carried to the credit of the fund out of which the expenses incurred by the authority under this Act are defrayed.

    I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (5), to insert the words "Provided that in cases where the Local Government Board direct that the council of a non-county borough shall exercise and perform within the borough the powers and duties of a county council under Sections 3 and 4 of this Act, the duty of taking proceedings for enforcing the provisions of Section 1 of this Act in such borough shall rest on the council thereof and not on the county council?

    Under Clause 1 the county council or borough council, without any prejudice to the local sanitary authority, impose the duty of preventing the sale of tuberculous milk. Clause 3 imposes the duty of stopping the supply in that case, and it is possible under Sub-section (4) for this duty to be specifically imposed upon the local authorities for the purposes of the Diseases of Animals Act, that is to say, on a non-county borough. Clause 15 and these three Clauses make it the statutory duty in the non-county borough for the county councils to enforce the provisions of Clause 1, and it may well be that this over-lapping may induce the county councils in many cases to oppose the transfer under Clause 3, to the non-county borough councils, because they would feel there would be a great deal of over-lapping, and that it would be extremely difficult for them to carry out their statutory duties and to apportion the expenses if the same duties are partly performed by the non-county boroughs. In a matter of this kind there is a great danger of what is everybody's job becoming nobody's job, and I think the right hon. Gentleman, by accepting the Amendment, would make the Act far more effective.

    This proviso deals with exceptional cases of certain non-county boroughs who have power under the Diseases of Animals Act. They also will have power of inspection of the cattle under Clauses 3 and 4 of this Act dealing with tuberculosis, because it is obviously undesirable that two authorities in the same town should be doing the same work. That being so, it will, I think, devolve upon them also to enforce the provisions of Clause 1, and it would bring confusion to the authorities if the county council should have this small fraction of a piece of work in a town, and that a borough council should do the rest. Therefore, I think the hon. Gentleman is justified in suggesting that the whole should be treated as one, and the duties performed by one authority.

    Will he make it clear in the Bill that this is only to apply to those councils which have the power already?

    This proviso relates to those cases—

    "where the Local Government Board direct that the council of a non-county borough shall exercise and perform within the borough the powers and duties of a county council under Sections 3 and 4 of this Act."
    Sub-section (4) of Clause 3 provides that:
    "The Local Government Board may by order direct that the council of any non-county borough within the county, which is a local authority for the purposes of the Diseases of Animals Acts, 1894–1911, shall exercise and perform within the borough the powers and duties of the county council under this and the next succeeding Section."
    Therefore that limitation is imported into this proviso by the fact that it is in the Section referred to.

    I cannot admit the legal interpretation which the right hon. Gentleman puts upon the words of this Clause as embodying the words in Clause 3. If this is read by itself it is clear that it will be at the discretion of the Local Government Board to direct that a council of a non-county borough, which is not an authority for the purposes of the Diseases of Animals Acts, shall exercise and perform these duties, which otherwise would fall on the county council. It is at the discretion and possibly the caprice of the Local Govern- ment Board, under considerable pressure from some non-county borough, to allow them to exercise these powers, and so constitute a little island in a large county council area, which may involve overlapping and less drastic treatment on the part of this non-county borough as compared with that exercised by the county of which it forms a part.

    These exceptions are in themselves undesirable, because you are giving to the authority with comparatively small interests. powers as to which all kinds of local pressure may be used, whereas in the case of a larger area it is not likely that the whole county is going to be effected by the local considerations of that particular area. I understand my right hon. Friend intends to limit this power to those non-county boroughs which have powers as defined in Clause 3. I agree with hon. Members opposite that if this proviso is passed as it stands it is doubtful whether it is limited to that. My right hon. Friend knows very well the different views held by local authorities on this matter, and I desire to take this opportunity of thanking him for going such a long way to meet us in having the provisions put into the Bill, and not being left to the discretion of any Government Department. I think it would be in accordance with the way in which the right hon. Gentleman has met us if he makes it clear now, or undertakes to do it in another place, that this is directly limited to non-county boroughs, which already have the powers referred to.

    I cannot say that I feel any doubt whatever on the matter, but after the views which have just been expressed there seems to be some ambiguity in the words. It is only a drafting point, and before the Bill reaches another place I will suggest a drafting Amendment to make the point quite clear.

    Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and agreed to.

    Clause 17—(Application To London)

    (7) Where the authority in default is a Metropolitan borough council the provisions of the Public Health (London) Act. 1891, shall apply in all respects as if such default had been made under the said Act.

    Amendment made: In Sub-section (7). after the word "of," insert the words "Section one hundred and one of."—[ Mr. Herbert Samuel.]

    Clause 18—(Short Title, Commencement, Extent, And Repeal)

    (3) The enactments specified in the Third Schedule to this Act are hereby repealed to the extent mentioned in the third column of that Schedule, and there shall also be repealed, as from the expiration of one year after the commencement of this Act, so much of any local Act as deals with any of the matters dealt with by any of the provisions of this Act.

    Amendment made: In Sub-section (3) leave out the word "Third," and insert instead thereof the word "Fourth."—[ Mr. Herbert Samuel.]

    First Schedule

    Diseases of Cows for the Purposes of Section One.

    Acute mastitis.

    Actinomycosis of the udder.

    Anthrax.

    Foot-and-mouth disease.

    Suppuration of the udder.

    Any other disease affecting cows which by a Milk and Dairies Order is declared to be a disease for the purpose of Section 1 of this Act.

    Amendment made: Leave out the words "for the Purposes of Section One," and insert the words "in addition to tuberculosis to which Section One applies."—[ Mr. C. Bathurst.]

    Second Schedule

    Procedure for Stopping Supply of Milk Under Section Three.

    (5) The responsible authority if, in their opinion, the dairyman has failed to show cause why an order should not be made, may make an order prohibiting him, either absolutely or unless such conditions as maybe prescribed in the order are complied with, from supplying for human consumption, or using or supplying for use in the manufacture of products for human consumption, any milk from the dairy until the order has been withdrawn in accordance with the provisions of this Schedule.

    (14) If an order prohibiting the supply or use of milk is made under this Schedule without due cause, or if a responsible authority or medical officer of health unreasonably neglect or refuse to withdraw any such order, any dairyman, if not himself in default, shall be entitled to recover from the responsible authority full compensation for any damage or loss which he may have sustained by reason of the making of the order or of the neglect or refusal to withdraw the order.

    I beg to move, in Sub-section (5), after the word "dairy," to insert the words "or from any particular cow therein."

    The House will notice that this Schedule sets out the machinery by which milk may be tracked down to the particular dairyman and to the particular cattle in his dairy that are alleged to be producing impure milk. It may be a large dairy which is supplying a considerable amount of milk from animals that are entirely sound, and yet it may be from one particular cow that the trouble is traced. In that case there is no reason why the whole of this unfortunate man's business should be interfered with, and I think he should be allowed to continue his supply, and only the particular incriminated cow should be dealt with, and not the whole of the cattle in his dairy.

    The object which the hon. Member has in view is obviously a proper one, but we intended to cover that point by the words "an order prohibiting him, either absolutely or unless such conditions as may be prescribed in the order are complied with." One of those conditions might be that the milk from a certain cow which is suspected should not, for the time being, be sold. I would suggest to the hon. Member a slight alteration in his Amendment. It may be a case where two cows are suspected, and therefore I think I would suggest that his Amendment should read "or from any particular cow or cows therein."

    I accept that Amendment, and I will move it in that form.

    Words "or from any particular cow or cows therein," there inserted in the Bill.

    I beg to move, in Sub-section (14), to leave out the words "under this Schedule without due cause, or if a responsible authority or medical officer of health unreasonably neglect or refuse to withdraw any such Order, any dairyman, if not himself in default, shall," and to insert instead thereof the words "against a dairyman he shall, unless the Order has been made in consequence of his own default or neglect."

    The only compensation given to a farmer is in the event of his farm being closed and being wrongfully convicted, and on appeal he can recover compensation. A farmer may have his business entirely stopped from selling milk at all if one particular cow is found to be giving tuberculous milk, because the county council have the power to make an Order and completely stop the farmer's business. In those circumstances, it seems only reasonable and right, as in all other cases where in the interests of the public cattle are slaughtered and measures of that character are taken, that the same principle should be applied to a farmer and he should be given fair compensation. That seems to me to be a fair way of administering this Act. We all want to secure a pure milk supply, but everyone knows if this Bill is going to cost the dairy farmer money, and I suggest that it is not fair that the whole of the loss should fall upon the dairly farmer alone. If it is not his own default or neglect, I suggest that the dairy farmer should have full compensation, and I am simply extending the scope of the Clause.

    I submit that this is not so serious a matter as the hon. Member supposes, and it is very little different from the Bill, because the Bill as it stands gives the right to compensation in the words of Sub-section (14) which roads, "if a responsible authority or medical officer of health unreasonably neglect or refuse to withdraw any such Order, any dairyman, if not himself in default, shall be entitled to recover from the responsible authority full compensation." The hon. Member's proposal alters the words rather than the substance of the Clause. I could not candidly say that in no circumstances would compensation be obtained under the hon. Member's Amendment which could have been obtained under the Bill, but the difference is extremely slight.

    I do not know whether this Amendment would mean a large or a small extension of the Bill.

    The Clause in the Bill contains the words "or if a responsible authority or medical officer of health unreasonably neglect or refuse to withdraw any such Order." My hon. Friend proposes to leave those words out, but I do not think he really wishes to do "that. It is conceivable that a farmer might be put to serious loss by a refusal to withdraw the Order. If these words are left out, I am not at all ceratin that he would get compensation under the words proposed to be put in.

    I will consider that point, and, if it is so, I will put it right in another place. It is not intended to restrict the Schedule in any way.

    Does not the Amendment mean in every case where an Order is made, unless the dairyman is in default, that he is to receive compensation?

    Yes, but the cases are exceedingly rare in which any Order will be made at all. The power to make the Order is given really to bring pressure to bear on the farmer to induce him to allow his cows to be examined with a view to detecting the cow which is tuberculous. As soon as it is discovered the cow is slaughtered under the Tuberculosis Order, and consequently most effective measures are taken to prevent her giving any more tuberculous milk. The whole of this elaborate procedure is put in so as to bring pressure to bear on the recalcitrant farmers who will not allow their cows to be examined.

    Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Schedule," put, and negatived.

    Words, "against a dairyman he shall unless the Order has been made in consequence of his own default or neglect," there inserted.

    Further Amendment made: At the end of paragraph (14) leave out the words "or of the neglect or refusal to withdraw the Order."

    Third Schedule

    Amendment of Sale of Food and Drugs Acts.

    (2) The local authority in whose district the sample was taken may take or cause to be taken one or more samples of milk in course of transit or delivery from the seller or consignor.

    Within forty-eight hours after the sample of milk was procured from the purveyor he may serve on the local authority a notice requesting them to procure within a period not exceeding forty-eight hours a sample of milk from the seller or consignor in the course of transit or delivery to the purveyor, unless a sample has been so taken since the sample was procured from the purveyor, or within twenty-four hours prior to the sample being procured from the purveyor, and where a purveyor has not served such notice as aforesaid, he shall not be entitled to plead a warranty as a defence in any such proceedings:

    Provided that the purveyor shall not have any such right to require that such a sample shall be taken in cases where the milk from which the sample procured from the purveyor was taken was a mixture of milk obtained by the purveyor from more than one seller or consignor.

    If a purveyor has served on the local authority such a notice as aforesaid, and the local authority have not procured a sample of milk from the seller or consignor in accordance with the foregoing provisions, no proceedings under the Sale of Food and Drugs Acts, 1875 to 1G07, shall be taken against the purveyor in respect of the sample of milk procured from him.

    (5) The local authority of the district in which the first-mentioned sample was taken may, instead of, or in addition to taking proceedings against the purveyor of milk, take proceedings against the seller or consignor.

    (6) If a sample of milk of cows in any dairy is taken in course of transit or delivery from that dairy, the owner of the cows may, within forty-eight hours after the sample of milk was procured, serve on the local authority a notice requesting them to procure within a period not exceeding forty-eight hours a sample of milk from a corresponding milking of the cows, and the foregoing provisions shall apply accordingly:

    Provided that the person taking the sample shall be empowered to take any such steps at the dairy as may be necessary to satisfy him that the sample is a fair sample of the milk of the cows when properly and fully milked.

    I beg to move, in paragraph (2), to leave out the word "the" ["the seller or consigner"], and to insert instead thereof the word "such."

    This is not only a verbal Amendment. There is some substance in it. I move it in order to make quite certain that the seller or consignor is the seller or consignor to whom reference is made in the preceding paragraph, and from whom the purveyor actually receives the milk. That is my object, and I think that the right hon. Gentleman will be prepared to accept the Amendment.

    Question, "That the word 'the' stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.

    Word "such" there inserted.

    Further Amendments made: In paragraph (2), after the word "notice" ["he-may serve on the local authority a notice "], insert the words

    "stating the name and address of the seller from whom he received the milk and the time and place of delivery to the purveyor by the seller or consignor of milk from a corresponding milking and."

    Leave out the words "procure within a period not exceeding forty-eight hours," and insert instead thereof the words "take immediate steps to procure as soon as practicable."

    I beg to move, in paragraph (2), to leave out the words "from the seller or consignor" ["from the seller or consignor in the course of transit or delivery to the purveyor"].

    This is merely a drafting Amendment in order to make the meaning perfectly clear. I propose to leave out these words at this point, and to insert them later so that the paragraph will read, "Within forty-eight hours after the sample of milk was procured from the purveyor he may serve on the local authority a notice requesting them to procure a sample of milk in the course of transit or delivery from the seller or consignor to the purveyor." If that is the intention, I would suggest that is the proper way to express it.

    Question, "That those words stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.

    Amendment made: In paragraph (2), after the word "delivery" ["in the course of transit or delivery to the purveyor"], insert the words "from the seller or consignor."

    I beg to move, at the end of paragraph (5), to insert the words

    "(b) If the seller or consignor is not himself the owner of the cows he shall have the same rights as against such owner and be subject to the same obligations and disabilities as are hereinbefore contained as respects the purveyor of milk."
    These words, not the words of my Amendment, but the words "seller or consignor," are rather ambiguous, and until one actually comes to paragraph (6) it is not quite clear whether the expression is intended to apply at all to the owner of cattle. So far as I understand the machinery, it appears to contemplate the purveyor of milk—that is, the shopkeeper—being impeached for selling impure milk, and this is calling upon the local authority, in fairness to him, to intercept milk passing from the seller or consignor, which, in most cases, will mean the wholesale dealer, to himself. It may be that the seller or consignor is not the wholesale dealer or middleman, but is himself the owner of the cows. If that is so, surely the machinery, in order to be perfect, ought to enable a sample to be taken, not only between the middleman and the actual shopkeeper in the town, but also in transitu between the producer of the milk and the middleman! Take the other case which may conceivably occur, where milk is provided straight from the cattle owner to the salesman in the town. The machinery should apply in that case also. I want really to supply a link which appears to be lacking in the machinery of this Clause, so that no injustice may be done to the farmer, if he happens to be the seller or consignor, in tracing back the impurities of the milk to his own premises, and, if necessary, to his cattle, and not leaving him in the position to be charged possibly with milk impurities for which he is not responsible, but for which the middleman or the wholesale dealer is responsible when dealing, possibly unfairly or even fraudulently, with various milks in his possession and on his premises.

    The hon. Member's object, of course, is an excellent one, but I submit that it is already provided for in the Bill. He contemplates three persons, A, B, and C, through whose hands the milk passes. Somebody takes a sample from C, who is a purveyor of milk, and C says, "I want you to take a sample from B." The purpose of the Amendment is to secure that B shall be entitled to say, "I want a sample of milk taken from A." That is done. B is also a purveyor of milk within the meaning of the Bill, and the whole Schedule applies to B just as much as it does to C. If you were to add all the letters of the alphabet to the chain, the whole Schedule would apply to each one as a purveyor of milk, so that I am advised the Amendment is really quite unnecessary. The Schedule as it stands applies in the manner desired.

    Is it not a fact that the ordinary interpretation of the word "purveyor" is a retailer?

    Is it not a fact that in the Definition Clause the expression "purveyor of milk" is said to include "a seller of milk, whether wholesale or by retail"?

    Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and negatived.

    I beg to move, in paragraph (6), to leave out the words "procure within a period not exceeding forty-eight hours," and to insert instead thereof the words "take immediate steps to procure as soon as practicable."

    I think this a very desirable alteration, but should it not also apply to the dairyman? He is expected within forty-eight hours to give notice, but it might be some time before he had noticed himself that a sample had been taken. Could the right hon. Gentleman alter the previous forty-eight hours in the same way. It might occur that a dairyman would not himself receive notice in time to give notice that he wanted another sample taken. Surely the same argument applies in the case of the cowkeeper as it does in the case of the local authority.

    He might delay giving notice until the occasion had really passed. He might extend it almost indefinitely. When you are dealing with local authorities you have some reliance that they will do the thing as speedily as may be, but, if you have an individual who is being proceeded against for adulteration, he may use every device the law allows him in order to put difficulties in the way of the procedure. I will consider the point again. I confess that my attention had not specially been drawn to it before, but I will consider it carefully, and, if there is any danger of a grievance and no danger of evasion of the law, I will do it.

    A deputation from the Essex Farmers' Union urged me particularly to press this on the right hon. Gentleman. Could he meet it by extending it to sixty hours instead of forty-eight hours?

    Question, "That those words stand part of the Bill," put, and negatived.

    Words, "take immediate steps to procure as soon as practicable," there inserted in the Bill.

    I beg to move, in paragraph (6), after the word "simple" ["a sample of milk from a corresponding milking of the cows"], to insert the words "or samples." I move this Amendment formally.

    This is much more than a formal Amendment, although it is only formally used. It is a very serious Amendment indeed. This is a provision which gives the owner of the cows the right to require the local authority to take a sample of milk from the cows, and the suggestion is that he should have the right of requiring—and the requirement must be obeyed—the local authority to take samples instead of a sample. That would give him the right of requiring them to take a sample from each cow. An obstructive farmer with a herd of 200 cows could make himself such a nuisance that no local authority would venture to take any action against him, no matter how great the suspicion, or how great the certainty might be, that he was really adulterating his milk. It really is not necessary. I do not think that it has ever been previously asked for, and I should be disposed to resist this Amendment.

    I think there may be reasonable grounds for requiring that samples, rather than a sample, should be taken in the interest of the person liable to be accused.

    Then it would be necessary to alter the words "from the corresponding milking."

    Question, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill," put, and negatived.

    I beg to move, in the last line of the Schedule, to leave out the words "and fully."

    This is a case where a person, taking samples on behalf of the local authority, is given power to take any steps that he may deem to be necessary to satisfy himself that he has "a fair sample of the milk of the cows when properly and fully milked." He may decide that the cow is not fully milked unless the Strippings of the cow have been taken. On the other hand a cowkeeper may be in the habit of so milking his cows that the Strippings are not taken, and the result may be that the cow may be milked out to a greater extent on the occasion when the sampler visits the premises to the detriment of the milking on the following day. In other words, the standard may be either raised or lowered, because a particular sampler of the local authority may adopt a different system of milking to that usually practised on the farm. I am moving this on behalf of the Cheshire Dairy Farmers' Association, some of the leading members of which have expressed themselves strongly in favour of it.

    I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not accept this proposal. Although I generally agree with my hon. Friend, I should say that apparently he has never been used to milking cows himself, because if you do not take out the Strippings the animal soon goes dry, and it is well understood that the last milk is by far the best and richest. To leave out the word "fully" would, it seems to me, be very much against the cowkeeper.

    I am sorry that the hon. and learned Member for St. Pancras (Mr. Cassel) did not give us his experiences in the methods of milking cows. I am advised by the Board of Agriculture that these words are really necessary and that a sample cannot be properly obtained unless the Strippings are taken, because they are the richest part of the milk. In such a case the cowkeeper might have a right to complain that the cows were not fully milked. The Amendment might also provide a loophole which would enable a farmer who desired to defeat the purposes of the Bill to escape from its meshes.

    Question, "That those words stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.

    Question, "That the Bill be now read the third time," put, and agreed to.

    Bill read the third time, an